Mormon Stories - LDS

Parallel to the LDS Church’s shifting position regarding homosexuality, there have been new crops of faithful gay public figures who are held up by the church as role models on how to be a faithful gay member of the church. As the LDS Church has softened its stances and opened the window for “righteous celibacy,” gay public figures in mixed-orientation marriages have lost popularity and a more nuanced breed of celibate role models has emerged E.g. Charlie Bird and Ben Schilatty.

In this episode we discuss how these public figures enable the perpetuation of harmful church rhetoric and spiritual trauma towards the LGBTQ community, and explore some possible solutions that could help ignite positive change in the church.

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Direct download: MormonStories-1484-TheGayMormonReformation.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:50pm MDT

How many of Joseph Smith’s revelations were a success and how many have the church needed to redefine overtime? Today we are honored to have John Larsen in studio for an epic breakdown of Joseph Smith’s revelation for the “Lamanites”, calling Elders to preach to the Native Americans and the subsequent ramifications of Latter-Day Saint teachings for Native American people.

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Show Notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1483-JohnLarsenLamenites.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:43pm MDT

Lauren Rogers is our guest today for this epic two-part Mormon Stories interview. After suffering through a restrictive diet, harassment, and medical neglect on her Mormon mission to Chile, Lauren found herself permanently disabled as she made her way back home to the US.

In part two, Lauren also tells us about the same-sex attraction she repressed throughout her life as a devout Mormon and descendant of Brigham Young, eventually leading to an extremely fascinating exit from the church and a wildly eye-opening description of how she continues a healthy relationship with her husband.

It’s a gripping story from start to finish! Even Lauren’s shelf breaker and realizations about God might be a first-ever for Mormon Stories! We hope you’ll resonate with Lauren’s incredible, epic story!

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Show Notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-LaurenRogersPt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:30pm MDT

Lauren Rogers is our guest today for this epic two-part Mormon Stories interview. After suffering through a restrictive diet, harassment, and medical neglect on her Mormon mission to Chile, Lauren found herself permanently disabled as she made her way back home to the US.

In part two, Lauren also tells us about the same-sex attraction she repressed throughout her life as a devout Mormon and descendant of Brigham Young, eventually leading to an extremely fascinating exit from the church and a wildly eye-opening description of how she continues a healthy relationship with her husband.

It’s a gripping story from start to finish! Even Lauren’s shelf breaker and realizations about God might be a first-ever for Mormon Stories! We hope you’ll resonate with Lauren’s incredible, epic story!

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Show Notes:

  • Lauren’s Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@exmo_mom_?lang=en
  • Ted Lyon MS episode: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/missionary-sexual-assault/
  • Gospel topics essays: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/essays?lang=eng
  • Matt Harris Mormon Stories episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmjj2kbxFnQ
  • Eldon Kartchner - https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/eldon-kartchner-mixed-orientation-marriage/
  • Josh and Lilly Weed: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/josh-and-lolly-weed-on-their-love-story-mixed-orientation-marriages-and-ldslgbt-issues/
Direct download: MormonStories-LaurenRogersPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:00am MDT

In this episode, we sit down with therapist Natasha Helfer and discuss a few of the negative messages people raised in religious conservative community may have been conditioned to believe about sex.

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Direct download: MormonStories-1480-NatashaHelferHealingFromShame.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:30pm MDT

We are starting a new series on Mormon Stories Podcast dedicated to reporting on current events. Today Carah and John will be discussing the recent announcement that the Mormon church has agreed to pay out $250 million dollars to help settle all current and future BSA-related sexual abuse claims.

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Direct download: Mormon_Stories-1479-BoyScoutSexualAbuseSettlement.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:26pm MDT

Join us as we continue with part 2 of our interview with Camille Jones where we discuss her employment with the LDS church, the role of women in the patriarchal church employment system, and what eventually caused her to lose her faith in Mormonism.

A huge ‘thank you’ to Camille for being brave enough to tell us her story! Camille’s journey is a fascinating one to say the least!

Show notes:

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Direct download: MormonStories-1478-CamilleJonesPart2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 2:45pm MDT

Are Mormon missionaries who lead tours at historic church sites like those across upstate New York told to teach false information about the church’s founding? Mormon Stories producer and co-host Carah Burrell takes the reins for her second episode as lead interviewer of our guest Camille Jones as we talk with her about serving in Palmyra, New York at the LDS church’s visitor center.

In part one of our two-part interview with Camille, we discuss the narrative the church wants to be forwarded about the church’s founding versus what Camille wishes she would have known while volunteering as a full-time missionary. We cover topics from the golden plates, to the Hill Cumorah, and more. Camille also discusses the confusing and uncomfortable advances older Mormon men have made on her throughout her teen years.

This eye-opening experience highlighted the power imbalance between Mormon men and women, a theme that carries on into part 2 where Camille discusses being employed by the church.

Show notes:

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Direct download: MormonStories-1477-CamilleJonesPart1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 2:25pm MDT

Join Margi and John Dehlin as we discuss different approaches to telling loved ones about your loss of faith.

Please share questions, lessons you've learned, and suggestions in the comments below.

This episode is part of the new "Gift of the Mormon Faith Crisis" project on Mormon Stories Podcast - where we will regularly share tips and tricks for navigating a Mormon faith crisis, and healing and growth after a faith crisis, on the podcast.

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If you would like to see this sort of content continue on Mormon Stories Podcast, please become a monthly donor to the project here: https://donorbox.org/the-gift-of-the-mormon-faith-crisis-podcast

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Show notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1476-TellingFamilyAboutLossOfFaith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:20pm MDT

Are you looking for friends and community after leaving Mormonism or organized religion? The THRIVE initiative seeks to do just that - provide events, content, and community for people leaving Mormonism and/or organized religion.

Prior to the COVID outbreak, considerable momentum was made with THRIVE in the organizing of events for post-Mormons, and in the formation of live, face-to-face communities. THRIVE leaders Jeni and Clint Martin are now excited to announce several new exciting THRIVE initiatives which include:

- A revamped website with new functionality.
- A THRIVE events calendar to keep you informed of upcoming events.
- Instructions for how you can organize your own THRIVE events.
- An "in -person community locator" to help you find a local, face-to-face support communities, and
- Instructions for creating your own face-to-face community if one doesn't exist in your area.
We will also discuss future plans for THRIVE.

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THRIVE WEBSITE:
https://www.thrivebeyondreligion.com/

Online groups/resources:
WACA (Women of a Certain Age)
Faith Journey Meetups fb group
Ex Mormon Reddit
Mormon Stories facebook group
Mormon Enlightenment facebook group
Mormon Spectrum

Faith Crisis Resources:
https://www.mormonstories.org/faith-crisis-resources/

Natasha’s events
https://www.symmetrysols.com/events
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Direct download: Thrive2021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm MDT

In our final segment with Laura Schnell, she describes her faith deconstruction, responds to criticisms, and expresses the immense beauty she’s found rediscovering her own voice as a post-Mormon woman.

Show notes and links:

Direct download: MormonStories-1474-LauraSchnellPt3.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:11am MDT

When we left off with Laura Shnell at the end of part one, Laura had decided to pursue a career in the LDS Church Education System as a seminary teacher. In this episode, we hear her describe the inappropriate interactions from her mentor, the great lengths Laura went to for her Spanish speaking seminary students, and the sexism she faced as a woman working for CES.

Show notes and links:

Direct download: MormonStories-1474-LauraSchnellPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08am MDT

In part one of this exciting three part interview, Colombian immigrant and former Mormon seminary teacher, Laura Schnell, shares her very unique Mormon story. Laura left South America with her mother and sister in the 90s to Queens, New York, and remembers her time in their small Spanish speaking LDS branch with fondness.

In this episode, she discusses her step-dad joining the family, her time in India with BYU’s International Development Program, and the road she took to choosing a career in the Church Educational System and meeting a friend of the podcast, Marc Oslund. 

Show notes and links: 

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Direct download: MormonStories-1472-LauraSchnellPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:15pm MDT

Join me as I take question and suggestions from our listeners!

Direct download: MormonStories-1472-ListenerUpdateQuestions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:41pm MDT

Have you ever found yourself reacting in unhelpful ways to the distress that accompanies a religious faith crisis (or life in general)?

Margi Dehlin has spent two decades supporting and/or coaching Mormons in faith crisis, post-Mormons, and women experiencing significant life transitions.

As part of a new series on Mormon Stories Podcast providing free coaching support to transitioning and post-Mormons, Margi will share her general approach to managing the emotional distress that often accompanies a religious faith crisis. Her framework will be based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is a cutting-edge form of mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Show Notes:

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Direct download: MormonStories-1471-MargiDehlinStayingGrounded.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:08pm MDT

In April of 2019 Brigham Young University valedictorian Matt Easton came out as a faithful gay Mormon during his valedictorian address, which was pre-approved by the LDS Church. Matt's speech received very positive national media attention, including an appearance on the Ellen Show. Matt is currently attending U.C. Berkeley as a Political Science Ph.D. student.

Last week, Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland publicly "called out" Matt Easton, accusing him of "commandeering" the 2019 graduation ceremony. His exact words were:

"If a student commandeers a graduation podium intended to represent everyone getting diplomas in order to announce his personal sexual orientation, what might another speaker feel free to announce the next year until eventually anything goes? What might commencement come to mean — or not mean — if we push individual license over institutional dignity for very long? Do we simply end up with more divisiveness in our culture than we already have? And we already have too much everywhere."

Please join us on August 29, 2021 at 1:30pm Utah time as Matt Easton shares with us his Mormon story, and responds to Elder Holland's irresponsible attacks.

Show Notes:

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Direct download: MormonStories-1470-MattEaston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40am MDT

As most Mormons are just now beginning to learn, Joseph Smith left multiple and varied First Vision accounts that changed dramatically over time. Joseph Smith's 1st handwritten First Vision account was produced in 1832, and was intentionally hidden from LDS Church members for over a century and a half - primarily because of the many problems it presented to orthodox belief. The "official" First Vision account that the LDS Church ended up adopting is the 1838 version, which varies in several significant ways from the previous versions - primarily reflecting Joseph Smith's evolving theological beliefs.

Join us today as John Larsen analyzes Joseph Smith's FIRST (1832) handwritten First Vision account, and explores the many difficulties this version presents to modern Mormon faith.

Show notes:

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Direct download: MormonStories-1469-JohnLarsen1stVisionAccounts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26am MDT

Wrapping up our epic three part interview with the Laing family, Heather and Kelly detail the path of love and acceptance they took while deconstructing their faith in the Mormon god’s plan for families. We hope you’ll resonate with their description of uncovering troubling Mormon history, growing closer as a family, and realizing none of them are broken, least of which their two gay sons.

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Direct download: MormonStories-1468-LiangPt3.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:38am MDT

What happens when two sons in a Mormon military family come out as gay? In part two of our interview with the Laing family, we talk with Britton and Mason Laing about the unique struggles they faced, what it was like coming out, and their advice for other gay teens.

Direct download: MormonStories-1467-LiangPt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 8:45am MDT

Batten down the hatches and prepare for an epic Mormon Stories interview like you’ve never heard before! Part of what is often called “the Silent Service”, former nuclear submarine commander, Kelly Laing and his family, finally speak out. We dive deep in this three part interview and hear from Heather and Kelly Laing, followed by two of their four children, Britton and Mason, in part 2.

In this episode, we discuss Heather and Kelly’s courtship as teens, the road Kelly took into the military, and the ways they kept their family and love life afloat. 

Show notes: 

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Direct download: MormonStories-1466-LaingPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:56am MDT

On August 23, 2021 Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland spoke to staff at Brigham Young University during the first day of the institution's 2021 university conference.  During his speech Elder Holland condemned: 1) a recent BYU valedictorian for "coming out" as gay during his graduation commencement address, 2) a recent uptick in LGBTQ-affirming demonstrations at BYU, and 3) a recent surge in LGBTQ support by BYU students and faculty.  His comments appear to be in response to a corresponding surge in concerns expressed by orthodox ultra conservative/Deznat-affirming LDS church adults who are concerned that BYU is becoming to LGBTQ affirming (descending into "Babylon").  During his speech Elder Holland invoked war metaphors, including the statement, "I am grateful we have scholars today who can handle, as it were, both trowels and muskets.”

Today we will talk with Kyle Ashworth (host of Latter-Gay Stories Podcast) and Gerardo Sumano about the recent events.  The main topic will be: is the LDS Church losing control over LGBTQ support at BYU and church-wide?

Show notes: 

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Direct download: MormonStories-1465-ElderHollandLGBTQSupportatBYU.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 7:00am MDT

Today Mormon Stories is lucky enough to be joined by the wonderful Jessie Funk! For anyone familiar with the music of the youth seminars held by the LDS church known as “EFY”, singer Jessie Funk’s name should ring a bell. After Jessie’s career touring with the broadway musical “Footloose”, releasing several studio albums and books, starting her organization “The Ivy Foundation”, and raising her two children, she recently changed tunes, choosing to leave the Mormon church.

We are excited to speak with Jessie about her Mormon upbringing, career (in and outside of the church), her faith crisis, and her new venture “Especially for Truth”, a week-long summer seminar for post-Mormon teens. Wrapping up her first “EFT” event last week where John and Carah were invited as guest speakers, we hope powerhouse Jessie Funk joining the post-Mormon activist space will be music to your ears!

And a bonus? There are still tickets left to her Especially for Truth event for post-Mormon women in Park City this coming weekend Aug 27-29th! Visit especiallyfortruth.com

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Direct download: MormonStories-1464-JessieFunk.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:58am MDT

In Friday's Mormon Stories Podcast episode, beloved podcaster Radio Free Mormon shares with us his reflections on how he transitioned from a Mormon apologist to a non-believer and critic of the LDS Church.

Please join us with your questions and comments!

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Direct download: MormonStories-1463-FromTBMtoRFM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41am MDT

Geneticist Simon Southerton was serving as an Australian Mormon bishop when he discovered through DNA research that Native Americans were not descendants of Israelites (as the Book of Mormon teaches), but instead were descendants of Asians via the Bering Strait. This researched caused Simon to lose his faith in Mormonism. He is the author of a book on the subject called “Losing a Lost Tribe.”

Recently Simon has been studying the declining growth in the worldwide LDS or Mormon church. Simon will join us on Mormon Stories Podcast to discuss his research into Mormon church decline.

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Direct download: MormonStories-1462-NewTemplesVeilMormonismsDeclineSimonSoutherton.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 2:19pm MDT

Join us today for a conversation with Dr. Robert P. Mildenhall, MD (an ICU pulmonary physician from Nashville, Tennessee) as he answers questions about his experience with Covid-19 and the vaccine.

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Direct download: MormonStories-1461-CovidVaccineICUDoc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55am MDT

Over the past few days the Intensive Care Units in Utah hospitals and around the U.S. began to overflow with COVID patients. Reports began to emerge that as high as 99% of the ICU patients and deceased were not vaccinated from COVID. In addition, the LDS Church First Presidency released a new announcement a few days ago urging members to be vaccinated. This announcement has caused many vaccine-hesitant LDS church members to question their faith in the LDS church, and/or in LDS Church president Russell M. Nelson. The announcement also has spurned several interesting conspiracy theories. There has also been a variety of responses from local LDS bishops, stake presidents, and members - from supportive to unsupportive.

On August 17th between 9am and 10am mountain time please join us as we assemble a panel of physicians and experts to discuss the status of the COVID vaccine in the U.S., in Utah, and in the LDS Church. The conversation will avoid politics, will be science-based, and we will take questions from the viewing audience.

Please join us, and please spread the word.

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Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50

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Direct download: MormonStories-1460-MormonChurchAndTheCovidVaccine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm MDT

Is there a double standard at BYU when divvying out punishments to athletes vs students who break the honor code? Mormon Stories producer and co-host Carah Burrell takes the reins on this intense episode as lead interviewer of our guest Kelly Trust as we take a deep dive into answering that question! Finally feeling freed from the constraints that kept her quiet for too long, Kelly describes the confusing, unhealthy sexual messages around her body that plagued her youth, the relationship with a star BYU athlete that led to her expulsion from the school while the player stayed, and the faith crisis that ensued after reading the CES Letter. 

Content warning on this episode for strong sexual themes and profanity. 

We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate!

Links and show notes: 

Honor Code Stories Instagram: 

CES Letter: 

“Leaving the Saints” by Marth Beck: 

“Braving the Wilderness”  by Brene Brown: 

Instagram:

Direct download: MormonStories-1459-KellyTrust.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am MDT

One of our most popular Mormon Stories guests is back with wonderfully salient advice for post-Mormon growth! Leah, along with her husband Cody and daughter Brinley, told their story to John during an epic multi-part Mormon Stories series on their faith transition and excommunication in 2019. In this episode, Leah shares seven lessons she’s learned while rebuilding a meaningful life for herself and her family. So many good takeaways in this episode! We hope you’ll find it valuable, share it, come back to it more than once during different life stages, and comment on what lessons you’ve learned along your journey as well. 

We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate!

Links and show notes:

Mormon Stories #1044: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - From Fear Into Joy (Part 1) Pt. 1:

Mormon Stories #1098: The Excommunication of Leah and Cody Young Pt. 1:

Mormon Stories #1048: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - A Teen's Perspective on Faith Transition Pt. 1:

Balanced Living with Leah website:

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma:

“She Let It Go” poem:

Email Leah: balancedlivingwithleah@gmail.com

Active Listening the Kids Perspectives:

Leah’s courses:

Leah’s instagram:

Direct download: MormonStories-1458-LeahYoungLessons-leveled.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12pm MDT

Our guest today is Brinley Young, daughter of Leah and Cody young, a family famous for telling their story to John during an epic multi-part Mormon Stories series on their faith transition and excommunication back in 2019 when Brinley was just 15 years old. Now 18, post-faith crisis, and with wisdom beyond her years, Brinley joins John and Margi in studio for 7 lessons she’s learned after leaving the church on topics ranging from communication, owning her sexuality, and following her intuition. This is a special one you won’t want to miss!

We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate!

Links and show notes:

Mormon Stories 1044: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - From Fear Into Joy (Part 1) Pt. 1

Mormon Stories 1098: The Excommunication of Leah and Cody Young Pt. 1

Mormon Stories 1048: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - A Teen's Perspective on Faith Transition Pt. 1

"Untamed" by Glennon Doyle

Direct download: MormonStories-1457-BrinleyYoung.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm MDT

Please join us as three Native American women, Sarah, Ann, and Monika who were raised in the Mormon church, discuss the following:

- What they were taught about the "Lamanite doctrine" as Native American Mormon women.
- How the Mormon Lamanite doctrine impacted their lives, especially while finding a partner.
- How their perspectives have changed regarding the Mormon Lamanite doctrine.

We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate!

Links and show notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1456-Native_American_Mormon_Women_and_the_Lamanite_Myth.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:29pm MDT

Join our panel as we discuss the question: Will Mormons Get Their Own Planets? Featuring Jaxon Washburn, Nemo the Mormon, John Dehlin, and Carah Burrell. 

We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate!

Links and show notes: 

Nemo the Mormon YouTube channel

Jaxon's TikTok

 

Direct download: MormonStories-1455-Will_Mormons_Get_Their_Own_Planets.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:37pm MDT

Trigger warning for our viewers as we bring you a special short episode on this under-covered topic. In a follow-up to our Mormon Stories interview with Kelceymarie, we go further in-depth on the issue of self-harm. How to view it, understand it, and find help. Kelceymarie Warner is a mental health advocate and graduate student getting her second masters in clinical mental health counseling. Kelceymarie has connected with hundreds of thousands through her books, journals, and TikTok by opening up about her struggles with depression, anxiety, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders.

We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate!

Links and show notes: 

Kelceymarie’s TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kelceymariewarner?lang=en

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelceymariewarnertiktok/

Kelceymarie’s Linktree to resources, book, etsy, etc: https://linktr.ee/kelcemariewarner

"The Sparrow’s Box” Site: https://www.thesparrowsbox.com/shop

Direct download: MormonStories-1454-KelceySelfHarm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56pm MDT

A strong trigger warning leads off this important interview, but we hope you’ll be able to join us as we hear from mental health advocate Kelceymarie Warner. As a graduate student in clinical mental health counseling, Kelceymarie has connected with hundreds of thousands through her books, journals, and TikTok by opening up about her struggles with depression, anxiety, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders.

Converting to the church as a teen, Kelceymarie found peace from her dysfunctional home life by attending church. We discuss the pros and cons of Mormonism in her life, the control and abuse that lead to the end of her temple marriage, and advice for those struggling hard to overcome life’s challenges who’ve turned to self-harm as a coping mechanism. This is a special one!

Show notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1453-KelceymarieWarner.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:43am MDT

Warren Driggs is a part-time attorney and author of several books including “Mormon Boy: A Memoir” and “Swimming in Deep Water, A Novel of Joseph Smith”. In this delightful interview, we sit down with Warren and his wife Cindy as they take us through the different fascinating ways their families raised them in Salt Lake City ranging from orthodox Mormons to casual, but intellectual, members of the church.

Listen along as they share their hilarious stories, impart beautiful insights, and the lessons they learned raising moral children after leaving the religion they loved in the heart of Mormon Mecca.

Show notes:

“Mormon Boy: A Memoir” by Warren Driggs https://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Boy-Memoir-Warren-Driggs/dp/0998779547

“Swimming in Deep Water, A Novel of Joseph Smith” by Warren Driggs https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0779G53GP/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i2

“A Tortoise in the Road” by Warren Driggs https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XPV5MDC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1

“Old Scratch” by Warren Driggs https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y5YMLF5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i3

“No Man Knows My History” by Fawn Brodie https://www.amazon.com/No-Man-Knows-My-History/dp/0679730540/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=no+man+knows+my+history&qid=1626237620&sr=8-1

Direct download: MormonStories-1452-Warren_and_Cindy_Driggs.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:53pm MDT

Today we are excited to sit down with legend, John Larsen. After ending his wildly popular Mormon Expression podcast, having John in studio is an honor as we steep in his humor and knowledge. We hit on some of our favorite important topics like the “curse of Cain'' while also bouncing around in the absurdity of Big Foot.

You will laugh, you might cry, but you will absolutely not be disappointed in this episode!

Content warning: PG-13 rating for profanity

Show notes:

Mormon Expression: How to Build a Transoceanic Vessel

-MP3: http://johnlarsen.org/podcast/Archive/MormonExpression276.mp3

-Text: https://gdoc.pub/doc/e/2PACX-1vRh7CxIlETHNYtH5jk0MXsWc5FVChckAUODY2QDGjLCjDGYWFgzOlGq1JORs4EZsbDzh63DvdShYNU1

"An Enemy Hath Done This" by Ezra Taft Benson: https://www.amazon.com/Enemy-Hath-Done-This/dp/0884941841

"The Church & The Negro - A Discussion of Mormons, Negros and the Priesthood" by John Bezos: https://www.amazon.com/CHURCH-NEGRO-Discussion-Mormons-Priesthood/dp/B000W1N72K

Direct download: MormonStories-1451-DoctrineOfCain.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:17am MDT

Join us today as we continue with part two of our interview with an awesome mother and daughter duo, Linda and Savannah Clyde. Growing up in a mixed-faith Mormon home, Linda worked through the resentment she felt towards her father’s lack of belief in the church with beautiful results. Linda’s talents as a writer eventually landed her a job at LDS church headquarters in the marketing department where she was instrumental in assisting the church soften it’s tone and messaging. Hearing her talk about the inner workings of the church is fascinating stuff to say the least! Once an extremely faithful teenager, Linda’s daughter Savannah’s curious spirit led her to dig deeper into the narrative of the church and become a new kind of pioneer for her Mormon family.

Listen along as they describe their journey to understanding one another, their non-Mormon loved ones, and the beauty that can come from embracing non-conformity as a family in Utah county.

Direct download: MormonStories-1450-ClydePt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:47am MDT

Today we’re premiering part one of our epic interview with an awesome mother and daughter duo, Linda and Savannah Clyde. Growing up in a mixed-faith Mormon home, Linda worked through the resentment she felt towards her father’s lack of belief in the church with beautiful results. Linda’s talents as a writer eventually landed her a job at LDS church headquarters in the marketing department where she was instrumental in assisting the church soften it’s tone and messaging. Hearing her talk about the inner workings of the church is fascinating stuff to say the least! Once an extremely faithful teenager, Linda’s daughter Savannah’s curious spirit led her to dig deeper into the narrative of the church and become a new kind of pioneer for her Mormon family.

Listen along as they describe their journey to understanding one another, their non-Mormon loved ones, and the beauty that can come from embracing non-conformity as a family in Utah county.

Direct download: MormonStories-1449-ClydePt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:51am MDT

In September of 2020, professional Mormon apologists Terryl and Fiona Givens were invited to speak at a Mormon church fireside for the Sunderland England Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  During this fireside Terryl Givens was asked to recount an experience he once had with a Mormon missionary woman who was doubting her testimony because of troubling things she learned about Mormon church founder Joseph Smith,  Terryl's recounting of the story was as follows:

"I was fortunate that there was a mission president in our area who knew us and our work.  And there was a sister missionary who decided that she was going to leave the church.  She was finishing her mission the next week and she'd made the decision to go home and leave.  And her companion of course deeply distraught over this and asked the mission president "Could we go talk to brother Givens?"  And he gave them permission to come and stay as long as they needed so they stayed long into the night.  And I listened to one after another question and then finally it occurred to me to ask this one question.  And I said to her in regard to one question in particular about Joseph Smith, and I said "Sister" I said, "Why does the answer to that question matter?"  And it changed everything.  It just caught her up short.  And she thought for a minute and she said, "I don't know" (Terryl chuckles).  "I don't know."

Many (including myself) were disturbed by Terryl Givens' story/response - particularly since it was directed at currently doubting Mormon church members.  We were primarily puzzled, shocked, and somewhat disturbed that the Mormon church's leading professional apologist - who has spent many years writing books for, and speaking/ministering to doubting Mormons - would provide such a glib and seemingly uninformed response.  That said, we understand that belief issues are complex, and take Terryl at his word that he sincerely does not understand why troubling aspects of Mormon history, including newly-discovered details about Joseph Smith's life, would matter to a questioning or doubting Mormon.

Consequently, I am launching a new social media campaign with which I could use your help.  The goal of the campaign is to help educate Terryl, Fiona, other Mormon Church apologists, and the Mormon church leadership about as to why "Informed Consent" is crucial to both active Mormons and Mormon investigators.

Direct download: MormonStories-1448-WhyTruthMatters.mp3
Category:Religon -- posted at: 11:35am MDT

Luna Corbden is the author of "Recovering Agency - Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control." In this multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast series, Lindsey employs the tools of social psychology to identify ways in which the Mormon church uses various coercive techniques often associated with high demand religions (also referred to as cults).

Throughout the series we will be asking, "In what ways does the Mormon church behave in ways similar to other high demand religions (or cults), and what can it do to become less cult-like?" The primary goal of this series is to help people raised within the Mormon Church unpack and separate their own identity from church doctrine and policies. In their book. Luna explores 31 different mind control techniques used by high demand religions generally, and by the Mormon church specifically.. In Part 5, we will cover the final set of methods (of the 31 in total): Indirect Directives, Identification & Example, Induced Phobias, Trace Induction & Dissociative States, Euphoria Induction, and Proselytizing.

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Luna Corbden (who also writes as Luna Lindsey) was born into the LDS Church and left the faith in 2001, at age 26. They now live in Washington state and write about topics of interest to them, including psychology, mind control, culture, and autism. They also write science fiction and fantasy novels, and write short stories for speculative fiction publications like the Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Crossed Genres, and the Recognize Fascism anthology. When they're not busy traveling to improbable worlds, they're thinking hard about this improbable world.

Luna's book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Agency-Lifting-Mormon-Control/dp/1489595937

Direct download: MormonStories-1447-RecoveringAgencyPt5.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:17am MDT

Luna Corbden is the author of "Recovering Agency - Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control." In this multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast series, Lindsey employs the tools of social psychology to identify ways in which the Mormon church uses various coercive techniques often associated with high demand religions (also referred to as cults).

Throughout the series we will be asking, "In what ways does the Mormon church behave in ways similar to other high demand religions (or cults), and what can it do to become less cult-like?" The primary goal of this series is to help people raised within the Mormon Church unpack and separate their own identity from church doctrine and policies. In their book. Luna explores 31 different mind control techniques used by high demand religions generally, and by the Mormon church specifically.

In Part 4, we will cover the 4rd set of methods (of the 31 in total): Dispensing of Existence, Social Pressure, Elitism, Us-vs-Them Thinking, Double-Bind, and Confession.

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Luna Corbden (who also writes as Luna Lindsey) was born into the LDS Church and left the faith in 2001, at age 26. They now live in Washington state and write about topics of interest to them, including psychology, mind control, culture, and autism. They also write science fiction and fantasy novels, and write short stories for speculative fiction publications like the Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Crossed Genres, and the Recognize Fascism anthology. When they're not busy traveling to improbable worlds, they're thinking hard about this improbable world.

Luna's book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Agency.../dp/1489595937

Direct download: MormonStories-1446-RecoveringAgencyPt4.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:16am MDT

Luna Corbden is the author of "Recovering Agency - Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control." In this multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast series, Lindsey employs the tools of social psychology to identify ways in which the Mormon church uses various coercive techniques often associated with high demand religions (also referred to as cults). Throughout the series we will be asking, "In what ways does the Mormon church behave in ways similar to other high demand religions (or cults), and what can it do to become less cult-like?"

The primary goal of this series is to help people raised within the Mormon Church unpack and separate their own identity from church doctrine and policies. In their book. Luna explores 31 different mind control techniques used by high demand religions generally, and by the Mormon church specifically.

In Part 3, we will cover the 3rd set of methods (of the 31 in total): Mystical Manipulation, Milieu Control, Loading the Language, Totalist Reframing, Thought-Terminating Cliches, and Time Control.

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Luna Corbden (who also writes as Luna Lindsey) was born into the LDS Church and left the faith in 2001, at age 26. They now live in Washington state and write about topics of interest to them, including psychology, mind control, culture, and autism. They also write science fiction and fantasy novels, and write short stories for speculative fiction publications like the Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Crossed Genres, and the Recognize Fascism anthology. When they're not busy traveling to improbable worlds, they're thinking hard about this improbable world.

Luna's book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Agency-Lifting-Mormon-Control/dp/1489595937

Direct download: MormonStories-1445-RecoveringAgencyPt3.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:16am MDT

Luna Lindsey Corbden is the author of "Recovering Agency - Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control." In this multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast series, Lindsey employs the tools of social psychology to identify ways in which the Mormon church uses various coercive techniques often associated with high demand religions (also referred to as cults). Throughout the series we will be asking, "In what ways does the Mormon church behave in ways similar to other high demand religions (or cults), and what can it do to become less cult-like?"

The primary goal of this series is to help people raised within the Mormon Church unpack and separate their own identity from church doctrine and policies. In their book. Luna explores 31 different mind control techniques used by high demand religions generally, and by the Mormon church specifically.

In Part 2, we will cover the 2nd set of methods (of the 31 in total): Love Bombing, Destabilization, Deception, Belief Follows Behavior, Public Commitment, Creating Dependency, and Emotion Over Intellect.

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Luna Corbden (who also writes as Luna Lindsey) was born into the LDS Church and left the faith in 2001, at age 26. They now live in Washington state and write about topics of interest to them, including psychology, mind control, culture, and autism. They also write science fiction and fantasy novels, and write short stories for speculative fiction publications like the Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Crossed Genres, and the Recognize Fascism anthology. When they're not busy traveling to improbable worlds, they're thinking hard about this improbable world.

Luna's book can be found here.

Direct download: MormonStories-1444-RecoveringAgencyPt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:00am MDT

Recovering Agency - Examining Mormon Mind Control Pt. 1 (with Luna Lindsey Corbden) Luna Lindsey Corbden is the author of "Recovering Agency - Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control." In this multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast series, Lindsey employs the tools of social psychology to identify ways in which the Mormon church uses various coercive techniques often associated with high demand religions (also referred to as cults). Throughout the series we will be asking, "In what ways does the Mormon church behave in ways similar to other high demand religions (or cults), and what can it do to become less cult-like?"

The primary goal of this series is to help people raised within the Mormon Church unpack and separate their own identity from church doctrine and policies. In their book. Luna explores 31 different mind control techniques used by high demand religions generally, and by the Mormon church specifically.

In Part 1, we explore the basics of how cognitive dissonance works, and we will cover the first six methods (of the 31 in total): Sacred Sciene, Demand for Purity, Doctrine Over Self, Black & White Thinking, Blame Reversal, and Guilt & Shame.

And, if you have not already, tune in to my most recent livestream (episode number 1442) for an introduction to this fascinating series!

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Luna Corbden (who also writes as Luna Lindsey) was born into the LDS Church and left the faith in 2001, at age 26. They now live in Washington state and write about topics of interest to them, including psychology, mind control, culture, and autism. They also write science fiction and fantasy novels, and write short stories for speculative fiction publications like the Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Crossed Genres, and the Recognize Fascism anthology. When they're not busy traveling to improbable worlds, they're thinking hard about this improbable world.

Luna's book can be found here: https://recoveringagency.com

Direct download: MormonStories-1443-RecoveringAgencyPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:05am MDT

 
In cooperation with author Luna Lindsey Corbden (Recovering Agency) and Youtuber Jonathan Streeter (Thoughts on Things and Stuff), I have developed a short self assessment to help people:
  1. Determine if they were raised in a cult or high-demand religion, and/or
  2. Learn to more quickly identify the techniques used by unhealthy people and organizations to wield undue influence over family, friends, employees, or members.
This self assessment should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.  A PDF of the assessment can be found here.
 
We also highly encourage you to learn and study these principles to avoid being taken advantage of by unhealthy individuals and organization (including family members, businesses, corporations, governments, etc) .
 
Finally, if you enjoyed this episode, please check out our in-depth, 17+ hour exploration of the book "Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control" with author Luna Lindsey Corbden on Mormon Stories Podcast. These episodes will be released starting Monday, June 28th.
Direct download: MormonStories-1442-WasIRaisedInACult.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:47pm MDT

This week we celebrate the birthday of faithful Mormon historian and scholar Richard Bushman – author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, and former Mormon church stake president and patriarch.

Some of you will remember that I had the privilege of interviewing Richard back in 2007. Most of you probably don’t know that Richard agreed to discuss 10 topics on the series, but quit the interview after only addressing 3 of the 10 topics, which was very disappointing to me at the time. But of course that was his prerogative.

Since our original interview, Richard has declined to appear on Mormon Stories Podcast again – especially after my excommunication from the Mormon Church in 2015. Still, there are many questions that I would like to ask Richard (or any believing Mormon scholar), if he (they) would allow it. Unfortunately most faithful Mormon scholars avoid any forums where they are asked candid, difficult questions. This is not their fault, of course. It’s the price of doing business with a church that silences and punishes its truth-tellers.

Consequently, I am recording a personal episode where I go ahead and ask the questions I’ve been wanting to ask Richard, along with expressing a few concerns with some of Richard’s public statements over the years.

I hope you enjoy! If you enjoy this episode, I may do something similar a few other faithful scholars/historians/apologists.

Direct download: MormonStories-1441-QuestionsForRichardBushman.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:08pm MDT

Join us for Part 2 of our interview with Gerardo who is a dear friend of the podcast! Growing up in an orthodox Mormon home, his story gives a unique perspective on the church in Mexico and the “Laminate ancestry” that plays into the testimony of many of the members in Latin America. After realizing his attraction to men in his youth, Gerardo worked to keep up with expectations as the son of a prominent LDS family hoping God would “turn his weakness into strengths.”

Through stories about Evergreen, conversion therapy, Mexican EFY, and serving a faithful mission, we hear how strongly Gerardo tried to pursue the covenant path and deny his gay identity. Gerardo went to BYU-I where he met his husband, a wild story filled with intense highs and lows. Eventually questioning his faith, losing his connection to being a descendant of the Laminates and working through disagreements with LDS family, Gerardo put his whole heart out there in this interview. Listen along for some life-changing insights from Gerardo on this epic episode of a Mexican Mormon Story!

Direct download: MormonStories-1440-GerardoPt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 1:32pm MDT

Join us for Part 1 of our interview with Gerardo who is a dear friend of the podcast! Growing up in an orthodox Mormon home, his story gives a unique perspective on the church in Mexico and the “Lamanite ancestry” that plays into the testimony of many of the members in Latin America. After realizing his attraction to men in his youth, Gerardo worked to keep up with expectations as the son of a prominent LDS family hoping God would “turn his weakness into strengths.”

Through stories about Evergreen, conversion therapy, Mexican EFY, and serving a faithful mission, we hear how strongly Gerardo tried to pursue the covenant path and deny his gay identity. Gerardo went to BYU-I where he met his husband, a wild story filled with intense highs and lows. Eventually questioning his faith, losing his connection to being a descendant of the Lamanites and working through disagreements with LDS family, Gerardo put his whole heart out there in this interview. Listen along for some life-changing insights from Gerardo on this epic episode of a Mexican Mormon Story!

Direct download: MormonStories-1439-GerardoPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:57am MDT

Kelly and Kayla Mikesell are a dynamic step-mother/daughter pair. Only recently did Kelly start to investigate the troubling issues with Mormon history that had been eating away at her children. In an effort to learn, love, and empathize with her children, she investigated the church and grew in ways that surprised her and her family.

As Kelly chose love and understanding over dogma and compliance, she was able to open her heart to the members of her family in the LGBTQ community, including her step-daughter Kayla. Teenage years filled with the unimaginable amounts of shame and guilt, Kayla was able to grow into her own independent, confident adult, even winning Miss Salt Lake City and making her platform one of advocacy for the Utah Pride Center.

We are honored to interview two thoughtful, articulate women putting a lot on the line to speak out while Kelly’s husband still currently serves as her bishop!

Warning: This episode contains discussions of self-harm.

Show Notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1438-KellyKaylaMikesell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45am MDT

Happy Utah Pride Week everyone! To celebrate Utah Pride week, I am sharing one of the most important interviews in the history of Mormon Stories Podcast. It is the story of Kyle Ashworth - a dear, brilliant, talented friend, and the host of Latter Gay Stories podcast.

This interview is important for at least 3 reasons:

  1. Kyle is a truly brilliant, caring human. That should be enough.
  2. It conveys super powerfully the myriad of ways in which the Mormon Church harms its LGBTQ members AND its straight members - including a deep dive into the serious problems of mixed-orientation marriages within Mormonism, along with the deep ineffectiveness and deceptiveness of organizations like North Star International.
  3. Finally, It is ultimately a story of "love winning out" as Kyle, his ex-wife, and her family fulfill their mantra, "One Family, Two homes."

Join us today to hear the conclusion of Kyle's truly inspiring story.

Please watch and enjoy, and please spread the word!!!

Direct download: MormonStories-1437-KyleAshworthpt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:11am MDT

Happy Utah Pride Week everyone! To celebrate Utah Pride week, I am sharing one of the most important interviews in the history of Mormon Stories Podcast. It is the story of Kyle Ashworth – a dear, brilliant, talented friend, and the host of Latter Gay Stories podcast.

This interview is important for at least 3 reasons:

  1. Kyle is a truly brilliant, caring human. That should be enough.
  2. It conveys super powerfully the myriad of ways in which the Mormon Church harms its LGBTQ members AND its straight members – including a deep dive into the serious problems of mixed-orientation marriages within Mormonism, along with the deep ineffectiveness and deceptiveness of organizations like North Star International.
  3. Finally, It is ultimately a story of “love winning out” as Kyle, his ex-wife, and her family fulfill their mantra, “One Family, Two homes.”

Today we will show Part 1 of the interview, and tomorrow we will share Part 2.

Please watch and enjoy, and please spread the word!!!

Direct download: MormonStories-1436-KyleAshworthPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:12am MDT

Every year I try to provide donors and listeners with a "State of the Union" address for the Open Stories Foundation (the 501c3 non-profit that I lead which houses Mormon Stories Podcast), along with the overall success of Mormon Stories Podcast and the other OSF podcasts (Gift of the Mormon Faith Crisis Podcast, A Thoughtful Faith Podcast, and Mormon Mental Health Podcast).

The topics for today will be:

  • OSF / Mormon Stories Podcast Mission & What we are about
  • Fiduciary stuff, governance
  • Board status
  • Effectiveness/reach of Mormon Stories Podcast
  • OSF Finances
  • OSF Strategy for 2021 and beyond
  • OSF staff changes, including the addition of Carah Burrell to the staff for a trial period
  • Plan for events and community
  • OSF challenges/needs
Direct download: MormonStories-1435-OSF2021StateoftheUnion.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:56am MDT

After converting to Mormonism as a teen and attending BYU, Haleigh Evert’s relationship with the Mormon church grew unfulfilling and complicated. After leaving the church for a time, Haleigh came back to the Mormon church, married in the temple, and started making videos and writing about her Mormon journey.

Haleigh eventually published the book “Why I Left the Mormon Church and Came Back,” which is still sold at Deseret Book today. Then, after years of promoting and defending the Mormon church, Haleigh read the CES Letter for the first time (just a month and a half ago).

In this episode we discuss Haleigh's conversion, her reach on social media as a Mormon influencer, and her life now after reading the CES letter.

Show Notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1434-HaleighEverts.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:34am MDT

Today I am so excited to share my interview with the incredible Lexi McDonald - YouTube's ExMo Lex! Tune in as we discuss Lexi's personal Mormon story, her faith transition away from the LDS church, and the birth of her highly successful Social Media platform, ExMo Lex.

Find Lexi on Social Media:

Direct download: MormonStories-1433-ExMoLex.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:03am MDT

Today I am honored to share the story of Drew Manning - author, TV star, and founder of the viral brand, "Fit2Fat2Fit." Join us as we continue with Part 2 of Drew's Mormon story, which will cover:

  • Healing after a divorce
  • Discovering meditation
  • Finding new wisdom outside of the church
  • Spirituality through psychedelics
  • Fit2Fat2Fit and the identity crisis that followed
  • Drew’s beliefs around God and an afterlife as a post Mormon

Show Notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1432-DrewManningpt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:01pm MDT

Today I am honored to share the story of Drew Manning - author, TV star, and founder of the viral brand, "Fit2Fat2Fit." In part 1 of Drew's story, we will discuss, among other things:

  • His upbringing in Mormonism
  • LDS mission in Brazil
  • Marriage & pornography use in a Mormon marriage, followed by the LDS church addiction recovery program
  • Their eventual divorce
  • Learning about problematic church history & the 2015 LGBT+ exclusion policy
  • The Fit2Fat2Fit story & Drew’s mission to bring empathy to fitness

Show notes:

Direct download: MormonStories-1431-DrewManningpt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:43am MDT

Join me today for this truly inspiring interview with Lance Allred, the grandson of Rulon C. Allred - the prophet of a fundamentalist polygamous sect called the “Apostolic United Brethren." In addition to this, Lance is the first legally-deaf player in NBA history, an inspirational speaker (including a highly successful TedX presentation, "What is Your Polygamy?"), and celebrated author of six books, including his most recent publication, “The New Alpha Male: How to Win the Game When the Rules are Changing.”

Join along as we discuss the concepts of misogyny, toxic masculinity, how they function within religions, and how we can begin to combat and "unlearn" these unhealthy habits.

More books by Lance Allred:

Direct download: MormonStories-1430-LanceAllred.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 11:52am MDT

JT & Lady Cee were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses from the age of five years old. Lady Cee was a regular pioneer and went to serve where the need is great with her pioneer partners. JT served at Brooklyn Bethel and was an elder in the local congregation.

After spending a combined 60 years of Watchtower indoctrination, they discovered that something was seriously wrong with the 1914 teaching. This led them to doing more research and after reading Crisis of Conscience by former Governing Body Member Raymond Franz, they faded from the organization. JT & Lady Cee realize the importance of giving back to help those they left behind. Therefore, in 2013, they began hosting the Critical Thought podcast on the EXJW Critical Thinker YouTube channel. Their decision to join their voice with the community of other Ex-JW activists is resulting in many happy endings as individuals begin waking up and learning the real truth about “The Truth.”

Learn more about them on their website and other social media outlets.

Direct download: MormonStories1429-JTLadyCeePt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am MDT

In this four-part episode, Trevor Haugen shares with us a recording of his conversation with LDS General Authority Don R. Clarke and LDS church historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow as they attempt to address his mounting concerns with deeply troubling Mormon history and doctrine.

Part 1: Trevor discusses his life as an orthodox Mormon believer, including his mission service and temple marriages.

Part 2: An audio recording of the meeting between Mormon General Authority Elder Don R. Clarke, LDS Church Historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow, and Trevor Haugen.

Parts 3 & 4: A panel including Lindsay Hansen Park, John Hamer, and Glenn Ostlund, moderated by Dr. John Dehlin, discusses the audio recording, and particularly analyzes the apologetics offered by Elder Clarke and Dr. Matthew Grow.

Direct download: MormonStories-714-ClarkeGrowHaugenPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm MDT

In this four-part episode, Trevor Haugen shares with us a recording of his conversation with LDS General Authority Don R. Clarke and LDS church historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow as they attempt to address his mounting concerns with deeply troubling Mormon history and doctrine.

Part 1: Trevor discusses his life as an orthodox Mormon believer, including his mission service and temple marriages.

Part 2: An audio recording of the meeting between Mormon General Authority Elder Don R. Clarke, LDS Church Historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow, and Trevor Haugen.

Parts 3 & 4: A panel including Lindsay Hansen Park, John Hamer, and Glenn Ostlund, moderated by Dr. John Dehlin, discusses the audio recording, and particularly analyzes the apologetics offered by Elder Clarke and Dr. Matthew Grow.

Direct download: MormonStories-713-ClarkeGrowHaugenPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm MDT

In this four-part episode, Trevor Haugen shares with us a recording of his conversation with LDS General Authority Don R. Clarke and LDS church historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow as they attempt to address his mounting concerns with deeply troubling Mormon history and doctrine.

Part 1: Trevor discusses his life as an orthodox Mormon believer, including his mission service and temple marriages.

Part 2: An audio recording of the meeting between Mormon General Authority Elder Don R. Clarke, LDS Church Historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow, and Trevor Haugen.

Parts 3 & 4: A panel including Lindsay Hansen Park, John Hamer, and Glenn Ostlund, moderated by Dr. John Dehlin, discusses the audio recording, and particularly analyzes the apologetics offered by Elder Clarke and Dr. Matthew Grow.

Direct download: MormonStories-712-ClarkeGrowHaugenPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm MDT

JT & Lady Cee were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses from the age of five years old. Lady Cee was a regular pioneer and went to serve where the need is great with her pioneer partners. JT served at Brooklyn Bethel and was an elder in the local congregation.

After spending a combined 60 years of Watchtower indoctrination, they discovered that something was seriously wrong with the 1914 teaching. This led them to doing more research and after reading Crisis of Conscience by former Governing Body Member Raymond Franz, they faded from the organization. JT & Lady Cee realize the importance of giving back to help those they left behind. Therefore, in 2013, they began hosting the Critical Thought podcast on the EXJW Critical Thinker YouTube channel. Their decision to join their voice with the community of other Ex-JW activists is resulting in many happy endings as individuals begin waking up and learning the real truth about “The Truth.” Learn more about them on their website and other social media outlets.

Direct download: MormonStories-1428-LeavingJehovahsWitnesses.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:09am MDT

Join me today as I sit down with a living legend, Rod Decker, who has gained great prominence in Utah over the past 50 years as a journalist, columnist, and reporter for KUTV Channel 2 news. An observer of Utah politics from an early age, Decker has a truly unique perspective on Utah culture, faith, and politics, and I could not be more honored to have him as a guest on Mormon Stories Podcast.

Rod Decker's most recent publication, "Utah Politics: The Elephant in the Room" can be purchased here.

 

Direct download: MormonStories-1427-RodDecker.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:58am MDT

Marriage, Family, & Sex therapist, Natasha Helfer, hosts this special edition of Mormon Stories Podcast with John & Margi Dehlin, as they discuss the aftermath of Natasha's trial for apostasy and excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Direct download: MormonStories-1426-NatashaHelferDebreif.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 1:43pm MDT

Join us now for Part 3 of what many are calling a truly groundbreaking Mormon Stories Podcast series - my interview with teen convert, former All-American athlete, and former Mormon seminary teacher and CES employee Marc Oslund.

In today's episode Marc shares with us:

  • An insider's view of how the Mormon church began realizing that it was hemorrhaging its youth and young adults, and how the church has experimented in seminary/institute/CES with both "inoculation" and "avoidance" when confronting its long-denied problematic history.
  • How the Mormon church relied on Terryl Givens and other progressive Mormons to help re-train Mormon CES employees, the backlash that ensued from orthodox instructors and managers, and how the Mormon church worked hard to simultaneously distance itself from Terryl Givens' teachings.
  • An observation that Mormon apostles no longer act as guardians of doctrine and theology, and how they have now "outsourced" that work to progressive theologians like Terryl Givens and others, in part so that they can maintain plausible deniability.
  • Marc's transition from an orthodox Mormon to a progressive/liberal (Terryl Givens)-type Mormon as a Mormon seminary teacher, in response to the training the church provided him, and how that ultimately undermined his own career in CES.
  • How Marc was ultimately and literally pushed out of CES for explicitly following the advice of Mormon apostles like Elder Ballard to openly discuss the problematic issues.
  • How the CES System continues to promote orthodox leaders in spite of its lip service to promoting openness and tolerance for diversity.

You will not regret the length and depth of this interview.

Direct download: MormonStories-1425-MarcOslundPt3.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:53am MDT

Join us today as we continue with part two of our three-part interview with former baseball player and LDS seminary teacher, Marc Oslund. Fascinating for so many reasons, I believe this is one of the most important Mormon Stories Podcast episodes I've ever released.

  • Marc was a heavily recruited high school baseball and football player in the L.A., California area.
  • He converted to the Mormon church as a teen.
  • He was drafted to the baseball Major Leagues three different times, and turned down those offers to go on an LDS mission and to BYU.
  • He was an all-American baseball player at BYU.
  • He served an LDS mission where he was often racked with guilt and shame - almost sent home for it.
  • When his baseball career ended (due to post-mission injuries), he became a Mormon CES seminary teacher, and served from around 2013 to 2019 - while the Mormon church was trying to become more open/honest about its history, and deal with public activists like Kate Kelly, myself, Sam Young, Jeremy Runnells, etc.
  • Even though he constantly had doubts/questions/concerns, his position as a seminary teacher caused major rifts in his marriage when his wife expressed occasional doubts, specifically about the Mormon temple ceremony.
  • Marc became a liberal/progressive/Givens Mormon while a seminary teacher - but was punished by CES for his progressive stances.
  • Marc ultimately lost his orthodox Mormon faith as a seminary teacher, and was pressured to quit his job.

In part 2 of his story, we will hear about Marc's experience working for the Church Educational System as a seminary teacher, his attempts to be open with students about church doctrines, and why he eventually began to question the leadership of the LDS church - all while working within the CES program.

Direct download: MormonStories-1424-Marc_OslundPt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:00am MDT

Join us today as we kick off our three-part interview with former baseball player and LDS seminary teacher, Marc Oslund. Fascinating for so many reasons, I believe this is one of the most important Mormon Stories Podcast episodes I've ever released.

  • Marc was a heavily recruited high school baseball and football player in the L.A., California area.
  • He converted to the Mormon church as a teen.
  • He was drafted to the baseball Major Leagues three different times, and turned down those offers to go on an LDS mission and to BYU.
  • He was an all-American baseball player at BYU.
  • He served an LDS mission where he was often racked with guilt and shame - almost sent home for it.
  • When his baseball career ended (due to post-mission injuries), he became a Mormon CES seminary teacher, and served from around 2013 to 2019 - while the Mormon church was trying to become more open/honest about its history, and deal with public activists like Kate Kelly, myself, Sam Young, Jeremy Runnells, etc.
  • Even though he constantly had doubts/questions/concerns, his position as a seminary teacher caused major rifts in his marriage when his wife expressed occasional doubts, specifically about the Mormon temple ceremony.
  • Marc became a liberal/progressive/Givens Mormon while a seminary teacher - but was punished by CES for his progressive stances.
  • Marc ultimately lost his orthodox Mormon faith as a seminary teacher, and was pressured to quit his job.

In part 1 of this incredible story, Marc talks about his upbringing in LA, his conversion to Mormonism, and why he gave up multiple opportunities to play major-league baseball in order to pursue a career in the Church Education System.

This is a long one...probably deserves its own podcast...but it's really, really important. I hope you enjoy.

Direct download: MormonStories1423-Marc_OslundPt.1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:21pm MDT

As the COVID pandemic begins to slow in Spring of 2021, we are seeing a surge in vocal Mormon church members being summoned to disciplinary councils for excommunication on the charges of apostasy. Last week Natasha Helfer was excommunicated from the Mormon church for nothing less than advocating for ethical mental health and sexuality. Today we interview Neesha and Kyle Brost, who were recently threatened with excommunication by their Mormon leaders for posting videos to their very popular TikTok channel.

This is Neesha and Kyle's Mormon Story

Direct download: MormonStories-1422-NeeshaKyle.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:55am MDT

Join us as we talk to Shannon Flynn, who was an associate of bomber and forger Mark Hofmann, as well as a major figure in the new Netflix documentary "Murder Among the Mormons."

Direct download: MormonStories-1421-ShannonFlynn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am MDT

Please join us now as we interview Marriage and Sex therapist Natasha Helfer as she discusses her pending Mormon disciplinary council for apostasy.

Natasha Helfer's membership council is taking place on April 18th at 7:30 pm central time zone.
 
How you can support Natasha:
  • Write letters of support to President Stephen Daley,
  • Attend the council itself as an "approved" participant or in a more general way (details below),
  • Sign a mental health professional letter that is currently being drafted (if this is your profession) - please contact Lisa Butterworth to sign this, and
  • Spread the word on social media.
Contact information:
Event taking place at the Derby, Kansas Stake.
Direct download: MormonStories-1420-NatashaParkerTrial.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:17pm MDT

Today we have Shannon Flynn and Tonya and Scott Reiter in studio to remember the life of their friend, Lyn Jacob’s, associate of Mormon forger and bomber Mark Hofmann.

Direct download: MormonStories-1419-RememberingLynJacobs.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:20am MDT

Returning Mormon Stories Podcast guest, Roger Hendrix, is a former LDS Bishop, Mission President, and CES director, and was also called by Gorden B. Hinkley as a Trustee for the Deseret Trust Company for 18 years. And as if that weren't enough, Roger also worked as a business Management Consultant for 35 years, and did a syndicated daily radio commentary on social, political, and economic trends for nine years.

Join Roger and myself today as we provide an analysis of the LDS church as a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and discuss "the future of Mormonism" - as Roger sees it.

Books by Roger Hendrix:

  • Bend, Create, and Plan Your Future, author Roger Hendrix
  • Choosing the Dream, The future of Religion in American Public Life. Co- authored with Fred Gedicks
  • Leverage Point, a novel written with Gerald Lund.
  • The Idea Economy, Why your ideas will have to create personal wealth and hope in an age of uncertainty. Co- authored with Rob Brazell.
Direct download: MormonStories-1418-RogerHendrix.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:03pm MDT

For as long as the Mormon Internet has existed, Ex-Mormon women have been expressing concerns about abusive behavior by Ex-Mormon men.

Today a panel of Ex-Mormon women come together on Mormon Stories Podcast to introduce athe following six concepts: 1) Consent, 2) Deference to Patriarchy, 3) Gender Roles, 4) Modesty, 5) Sex Shaming, and 6) Victim Blaming.

The intent of this episode is to help educate Ex-Mormon men about how to treat Ex-Mormon women, particularly online and in Ex-Mormon communities.

Participants in the panel are: Hannah Dunnigan, Sarah Hess, Margaret Frances Phillips, and Elisha Lee.

Direct download: MormonStories-1417-UnlearningMisogyny.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 11:16am MDT

Since Title IX passed in 1972 to prevent sex discrimination under any education program receiving Federal financial assistance, the religious exemption clause has gone virtually unchaellenched. For decades, the Department of Educations has granted Title IX exemptions allowing dozens of religious colleges like BYU and Liberty University to discriminate based on sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, even when they receive millions of taxpayer dollars every single year.

Join us today at 4:00 pm MT as we interview attorney Paul Southwick, Chandler Horning (BYU) and Luke Wilson (Liberty University), about their groundbreaking class action lawsuit filed against the Department of Education. Chandler and Luke are among 33 former and current students from different federally-funded religious colleges who have been harmed by their discriminatory policies. The lawsuit argues that the Title IX religious exemptions “as applied to sexual and gender minority students, is unconstitutional and that the Department must enforce the protections of Title IX at all taxpayer-funded educational institutions, including at those institutions that discriminate and cause harm on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Direct download: MormonStories-1416-ReligiousCollegesLawSuit.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 11:57am MDT

Join me today as I interview Carah Burrell (TikTok's "Nuancehoe") who has quickly became one of the most notable (and hilarious) ex-Mormons on social media right now!

In addition to her great success on TikTok, Carah also has a very interesting Mormon story - from her unique upbringing in the church, to her experiences navigating the LA comedy scene with her husband, as a young mormon couple. Carah also had the opportunity to work for the LDS church's public relations department, which has further added to her interesting perspective on the Mormon church.

You can check out some of Carah's work here:

Direct download: MormonStories-1415-CarahBurrell.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:47am MDT

Join me today as I interview Salt Lake City lawyer, Mark Naugle, who developed the website QuitMormon.com - which aims to give former Mormons a more streamlined way to resign their membership from the LDS church, without the need to meet with a church authority figure. Since 2015, Mark has filed over 80,000 legal resignation letters with the LDS church. However, in response to his website, the church recently changed the terms to now require a notarized letter in order to apply for resignation.

Listen along to hear Mark's personal story, how QuitMormon.com came to be, and what he is doing now to continually challenge the LDS church on this issue.

Direct download: MormonStories-1414-MarkNaugle.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 8:39am MDT

  • What happens when a Mormon bishop falls in love with a member of his congregation?  How could this happen?
  • What situation would make a divorced single mother returning to Mormon church activity fall in love with her married bishop?
  • In what ways does the calling of Mormon bishop, including both excessive time demands on the Bishop and the practice of one-on-one "worthiness" interviews with single women, put excessive strain on bishops, their marriages, and their families - making infidelity more likely?
  • Should divorced single women (or anyone for that matter) seek life counseling from a Mormon bishop?  Are bishops trained and qualified to do life counseling?
  • How could a bishop and a divorced single mother come to believe that they were both engaged in a God-approved polygamous relationship?  Does a story like this help us better understand the Chad Daybell / Lori Vallow story, or the Joseph Smith story?
  • What happens when a Mormon bishop loses his faith, while he is serving as bishop?  What type of pressure does that put on the bishop, his wife, and their family?
  • What is it like to be viewed as "the mistress" in a public relationship that is viewed as scandalous (i.e., a Mormon bishops falls in love with a ward member, loses his faith, asks to be released, and the entire ward/stake knows)?
  • What happens when a Mormon stake president is forced to release a Mormon bishop early?  What types of pressure does this situation put on the stake president, the ward, the bishop, and the bishop's family?  How does the Mormon church handle such situations?
  • If you happen to fall in love with someone who isn't your spouse mid-life, how do you decide whether to stay in the struggling or failed marriage to improve it vs. leave the marriage to seek greater joy/fulfillment?  Is there ever a time to "cut your losses" in a marriage and move on, or should most/all marriages be preserved at virtually all cost?
  • Can 2nd marriages work, with all the complexities of divorce, ex-spouses, step-children, etc.?  Or are they generally doomed to fail?
  • How in the world do you ever heal from a lifetime of trauma as a Mormon?  Is healing and growth possible?  If so, what are some resources that can be helpful?

Today's epic two-part Mormon stories interview with Matthew and Elizabeth explores all of these questions, and much, much more.  Buckle in for a 7+ hour in-depth interview.

I promise you that you will not be disappointed with these two strong, vulnerable, inspiring humans.

Direct download: MormonStories-1413-ShakespearPt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:19am MDT

  • What happens when a Mormon bishop falls in love with a member of his congregation?  How could this happen?
  • What situation would make a divorced single mother returning to Mormon church activity fall in love with her married bishop?
  • In what ways does the calling of Mormon bishop, including both excessive time demands on the Bishop and the practice of one-on-one "worthiness" interviews with single women, put excessive strain on bishops, their marriages, and their families - making infidelity more likely?
  • Should divorced single women (or anyone for that matter) seek life counseling from a Mormon bishop?  Are bishops trained and qualified to do life counseling?
  • How could a bishop and a divorced single mother come to believe that they were both engaged in a God-approved polygamous relationship?  Does a story like this help us better understand the Chad Daybell / Lori Vallow story, or the Joseph Smith story?
  • What happens when a Mormon bishop loses his faith, while he is serving as bishop?  What type of pressure does that put on the bishop, his wife, and their family?
  • What is it like to be viewed as "the mistress" in a public relationship that is viewed as scandalous (i.e., a Mormon bishops falls in love with a ward member, loses his faith, asks to be released, and the entire ward/stake knows)?
  • What happens when a Mormon stake president is forced to release a Mormon bishop early?  What types of pressure does this situation put on the stake president, the ward, the bishop, and the bishop's family?  How does the Mormon church handle such situations?
  • If you happen to fall in love with someone who isn't your spouse mid-life, how do you decide whether to stay in the struggling or failed marriage to improve it vs. leave the marriage to seek greater joy/fulfillment?  Is there ever a time to "cut your losses" in a marriage and move on, or should most/all marriages be preserved at virtually all cost?
  • Can 2nd marriages work, with all the complexities of divorce, ex-spouses, step-children, etc.?  Or are they generally doomed to fail?
  • How in the world do you ever heal from a lifetime of trauma as a Mormon?  Is healing and growth possible?  If so, what are some resources that can be helpful?

Today's epic two-part Mormon stories interview with Matthew and Elizabeth explores all of these questions, and much, much more.  Buckle in for a 7+ hour in-depth interview.

I promise you that you will not be disappointed with these two strong, vulnerable, inspiring humans.

Direct download: MormonStories-1412-ShakespearPt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:26am MDT

This week in the April 2021 Liahona (Mormon church monthly magazine) the LDS church released 6 online articles attempting to coach faithful Mormons on how to better treat family members who have lost their faith in the Mormon church. I my opinion, they really are groundbreaking articles (even though they were confusingly withheld from the printed publication).

Join us on 3/26/2021 as we discuss, praise, and critique the 6 articles. I would love your feedback on the articles as well. The 6 articles are:

Direct download: MormonStories-1411-April2021LiahonaArticles.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:36pm MDT

Join us now as Anthony Miller and Douglas Stilgoe join me to break down the recent rebranding and partial repenting of FAIRMormon, which includes: 1) taking down the controversial "Kwaku" / Cardon Ellis / Bradley Witbeck videos that attacked Jeremy Runnells and John Dehlin, 2) promising to cease ad hominem attacks, and 3) a name change.

Direct download: MormonStories-1410-FAIRMormonPartiallyRepents.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 9:27am MDT

Join me today for this amazing Mormon Stories interview as I talk to Jared Hess and Tyler Measom about the making of their new Netflix documentary, "Murder Among the Mormons."

Direct download: MormonStories-1409-JaredHessTylerMeasomDoc.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:25pm MDT

Join us today as the brilliant John Hamer returns to help us dig deeper into:

  1. The main Mark Hofmann Forgeries, and
  2. The main attempts to "cover-up" unfavorable history by the Mormon church.
Direct download: MormonStories-1408-JohnHamerMarkHofmannForgeries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm MDT

Today I share (and provide reactions to) a recent fireside given on February 28, 2021 by faithful Mormon scholar and Utah State University professor Patrick Mason given at the Logan Utah Cache West Stake.

This is a re-recording. I decided to re-record because I felt as though my reactions were too angry. Honestly, I felt a bit unhinged. I know that many of you valued the passion. I'm sincerely sorry to disappoint you.  My overall goal has always been for the podcast to feel "safe" for questioning Mormons, and I don't want to lose that for this important episode.

I have included screen shots of the questions that were submitted by questioning stake members during the Q&A, which can be found here. I have also included the stake president statement that they decided NOT share Patrick’s presentation on the stake Facebook page as they had said they would during the presentation.

Finally, a HUGE thanks to Angelina at GroveTrove Getaways for supplying us with this video. If you want to thank Angelina, you can find her on Instagram @agrovetrove.

Direct download: MormonStories-1407-PatrickMasonStakeFireside2021.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:32pm MDT

Today I share a recent fireside given on February 28, 2021 by faithful Mormon scholar and Utah State University professor Patrick Mason given at the Logan Utah Cache West Stake.

This is a version that has no commentary.  I have released adjacent to this episode a version with commenatry.

Finally, a HUGE thanks to Angelina at GroveTrove Getaways for supplying us with this video. If you want to thank Angelina, you can find her on Instagram @agrovetrove.

Direct download: CacheWestStakeFireside-PatrickMason-NoCommentary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT

This week Mormonism and the world (basically) have been captivated by the new Netflix Documentary "Murder Among the Mormons" - which covers the Salt Lake City bombings of 1985, and is currently #2 in the USA on Netflix.  (SPOILER ALERT!!!!)

While reactions to the documentary (produced & directed by friends Jared Hess and Tyler Measom) have been universally SUPER positive, many progressive and post-Mormons have expressed a wish that the documentary would have spent more time discussing the role of the Mormon church in: a) creating the environment that gave rise to the bombings, b) attempting to cover up/hide its problematic history, and c) obstruct or hinder the investigation of the bombings.

I this epic, 2-part, 6 hour interview with Mormon/Ex-Mormon legend Sandra Tanner, we cover many of the questions/topics/issues that progressive and post-Mormons have been wanting to know about the Mormon church, Mark Hofmann, the bombings, and the investigations, such as:

  • What do we know about Mark Hofmann's childhood and adolescent years?
  • When and how did Mark Hofmann lose his Mormon faith?
  • What are some of the direct and undeniable similarities between Joseph Smith and Mark Hofmann?
  • What can we ascertain about Mark Hofmann's possible motives for forgery?
  • What issues regarding Mormon Church truth claims were being discussed publicly during Mark Hofmann's childhood and adolescence years, and what written materials may have influenced him?
  • What behavior on the part of the Mormon church in the 1960s and 1970s may have served as motivating factors for Hofmann?  Particularly, to what extent did the LDS Church participate in overt deception of its members that could have influenced him to turn on the church?
  • What are Sandra's memories of Hofmann and his close associates like Shannon Flynn, Brent Metcalfe, Curt Bench, Lyn Jacobs, Brent Ashworth, etc.?  Were any of them suspected as accomplices?
  • What do we know about the main Mormon-related Hofmann forgeries, and why were each relevant from a Mormon.history perspective?  How did Hofmann's forgeries intersect with and challenge Mormon church truth claims?  How did they stand to harm the church?
  • What role did the Mormon church play in hiding and/or covering up Hofmann's forgeries?
  • Perhaps most importantly, Sandra recounts the inspiring story of her husband, Jerald Tanner, discovering that Hofmann's Salamander Letter was a forgery a FULL YEAR before the bombings, how she and Jerald fought about his discovery, what Hofmann's reaction was to Jerald's discovery, and how it was received in the larger Mormon studies and news community (spoiler alert: it was largely ignored).
  • Sandra also movingly discusses how she and Jerald were largely ignored and marginalized by the broader Mormon history community, including being denied a display table at Sunstone, and how many Mormon history scholars would take advantage of the Tanner's research without giving them any credit or citations.  She cites as the main reason of this mistreatment her and Jerald's willingness to question Joseph Smith's sincerity - which remains a taboo in the Mormon studies community to this day.
  • Sandra recounts her memories of the bombings and of the investigations.
  • Perhaps most importantly, what responsibility does the Mormon church play in contributing to the environment and led to the bombings?

All this, and so much more.  This is a 6 hour interview.

  • Part 1 (4 hours) talks mostly about Sandra's memories during and after the bombings.
  • Part 2 (2 hours) focuses more on Sandra's direct reactions to the documentary Murder Among the Mormons.

For your convenience we have created time codes that will let you know which parts of the videos you can jump to (if you want to jump around or refer certain parts to friends).

We hope you enjoy!!!!!!!  And a HUGE thanks to Sandra (and Jerald) Tanner for sharing with us her/their historic insight.  For me, this was a true honor.  MORE TO COME!!!!

- John Dehlin (March 10, 2021)

P.S.  If you value Sandra and her contributions to Mormon history, please support Sandra Tanner and Utah Lighthouse Ministry with your donations!!!

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

00:01:32 - Sandra’s impressions of “Murder Among the Mormons”

00:14:39 - How the LDS church was portrayed in the documentary - positive vs. negative

00:21:06 - Could this documentary pose a challenge to some member’s faith?

00:23:16 - Truly’s role in the documentary & lawyers as church “historians”

00:30:20 - Was it smart for it not to be a “hit piece” in the LDS church?

00:42:11 - How the story is being revived

00:51:15 - Could Hofmann had any accomplices’?

00:54:44 - Heroes & villiain of the story

01:00:35 - Culpability of the LDS church & their obstructing of justice

01:04:13 - Sandra’s recommendations for books on this subject

01:10:47 - Legacy of the Hofmann scandal & its impact on Mormonism

01:22:56 - “Lying for the Lord” & how Joseph Smith set a president of dishonesty within the church

01:28:04 - Why people stay in the church after they have lost their faith

01:32:21 - Could there be another event like this that threatens the church?

01:34:35 - Sandra’s predictions for the future of Mormonism

01:39:48 - Upcoming biography on Jerald & Sandra Tanner

01:43:41 - Sandra’s experiences from Mormon Stories Podcast

01:50:07 - Reflections on Jerald Tanner

01:54:21 - Closing remarks 

Direct download: MormonStories-1406-SandraTanner2021pt2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:20pm MDT

This week Mormonism and the world (basically) have been captivated by the new Netflix Documentary "Murder Among the Mormons" - which covers the Salt Lake City bombings of 1985, and is currently #2 in the USA on Netflix.  (SPOILER ALERT!!!!)

While reactions to the documentary (produced & directed by friends Jared Hess and Tyler Measom) have been universally SUPER positive, many progressive and post-Mormons have expressed a wish that the documentary would have spent more time discussing the role of the Mormon church in: a) creating the environment that gave rise to the bombings, b) attempting to cover up/hide its problematic history, and c) obstruct or hinder the investigation of the bombings.

I this epic, 2-part, 6 hour interview with Mormon/Ex-Mormon legend Sandra Tanner, we cover many of the questions/topics/issues that progressive and post-Mormons have been wanting to know about the Mormon church, Mark Hofmann, the bombings, and the investigations, such as:

  • What do we know about Mark Hofmann's childhood and adolescent years?
  • When and how did Mark Hofmann lose his Mormon faith?
  • What are some of the direct and undeniable similarities between Joseph Smith and Mark Hofmann?
  • What can we ascertain about Mark Hofmann's possible motives for forgery?
  • What issues regarding Mormon Church truth claims were being discussed publicly during Mark Hofmann's childhood and adolescence years, and what written materials may have influenced him?
  • What behavior on the part of the Mormon church in the 1960s and 1970s may have served as motivating factors for Hofmann?  Particularly, to what extent did the LDS Church participate in overt deception of its members that could have influenced him to turn on the church?
  • What are Sandra's memories of Hofmann and his close associates like Shannon Flynn, Brent Metcalfe, Curt Bench, Lyn Jacobs, Brent Ashworth, etc.?  Were any of them suspected as accomplices?
  • What do we know about the main Mormon-related Hofmann forgeries, and why were each relevant from a Mormon.history perspective?  How did Hofmann's forgeries intersect with and challenge Mormon church truth claims?  How did they stand to harm the church?
  • What role did the Mormon church play in hiding and/or covering up Hofmann's forgeries?
  • Perhaps most importantly, Sandra recounts the inspiring story of her husband, Jerald Tanner, discovering that Hofmann's Salamander Letter was a forgery a FULL YEAR before the bombings, how she and Jerald fought about his discovery, what Hofmann's reaction was to Jerald's discovery, and how it was received in the larger Mormon studies and news community (spoiler alert: it was largely ignored).
  • Sandra also movingly discusses how she and Jerald were largely ignored and marginalized by the broader Mormon history community, including being denied a display table at Sunstone, and how many Mormon history scholars would take advantage of the Tanner's research without giving them any credit or citations.  She cites as the main reason of this mistreatment her and Jerald's willingness to question Joseph Smith's sincerity - which remains a taboo in the Mormon studies community to this day.
  • Sandra recounts her memories of the bombings and of the investigations.
  • Perhaps most importantly, what responsibility does the Mormon church play in contributing to the environment and led to the bombings?

All this, and so much more.  This is a 6 hour interview.

  • Part 1 (4 hours) talks mostly about Sandra's memories during and after the bombings.
  • Part 2 (2 hours) focuses more on Sandra's direct reactions to the documentary Murder Among the Mormons.

For your convenience we have created YouTube time codes that will let you know which parts of the videos you can jump to (if you want to jump around or refer certain parts to friends).

We hope you enjoy!!!!!!!  And a HUGE thanks to Sandra (and Jerald) Tanner for sharing with us her/their historic insight.  For me, this was a true honor.  MORE TO COME!!!!

- John Dehlin (March 10, 2021)

P.S.  If you value Sandra and her contributions to Mormon history, please support Sandra Tanner and Utah Lighthouse Ministry with your donations!!!

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

Part 1 Timecodes:

00:07:13 - Summary of Sandra’s background
00:14:51 - Sandra’s understanding of Mark Hofmann’s early life & beliefs
00:19:39 - Hofmann’s exposure to treasure digging and LDS truth claims
00:32:02 - Parallels between Mark Hofmann and Joseph Smith
00:36:12 - Theories surrounding the Golden Plates & Book of Mormon
00:45:30 - Speculations on Mark Hofmann’s faith crisis
00:48:17 - Sandra discusses Shannon Flynn
00:55:53 - More on Hofmann’s mission, & his research into Mormon history
00:57:03 - Salamander Letter
00:58:50 – Sandra on intentional deception by LDS Church leaders
01:00:58 – Hofmann first comes to Utah Lighthouse Ministry in 1978 to share first known forgery – on the 2nd Anointing
01:06:19 – Mark’s handwriting – juvenile “chicken scratch”
01:07:10 – The beginning of a discussion of Mark Hofmann’s possible motives
01:09:07 – Mark Hofmann’s lack of empathy - callousness with the bombings.
01:12:44 – Mark Hofmann’s ego & his desire to pull off the “ultimate deception”
01:14:23 – Hofmann’s desire to embarrass the church & expose the faults their “power of discernment”
01:18:50 – More comparisons between Joseph Smith and Mark Hofmann – Around their “Ponzi schemes” unraveling into chaos and violence
01:20:56 – Discussion of Anthon transcript - Hofmann’s first major (known) Mormon forgery
01:28:34 – Jerald Tanner first uncovers forgery in 1960s – Oliver Cowdery pamphlet
01:31:21 – Jerald Tanner received pushback on forgery claims - Fawn Brodie and Juanita Brooks state they will continue to use the document
01:35:19 – Discussion of original Anthon transcript
01:39:08 – Hofmann’s Joseph Smith III Succession Forgery
01:45:58 - Hofmann trying to paint Brigham Young in a bad light.
01:52:11 – Brent Ashworth describing Hofmann “fishing” for documents that collectors might want
01:53:01 - Hofmann begins a bidding war over his Joseph Smith III Succession document
01:54:11 - LDS church “front buyers”
01:57:09 – Hofmann’s claim to have the McLellin collection
02:05:19 – Lyn Jacobs & Sandra’s thoughts on his omission from the “Murder Among the Mormons” documentary
02:08:18 – A discussion of frequent questions regarding Hofmann’s sexuality
02:14:09 - Hofmann’s 1825 Letter from Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell
02:17:42 – What LDS Church leaders knew about Joseph Smith’s use of folk magic and treasure digging
02:21:15 – The Smith family merging of folk magic with Christianity - Hyrum Smith’s use of “magic documents” & Joseph Smith’s use of the “Jupiter Talisman”
02:28:52 – LDS General Authorities consciously sanitizing Mormon church history (Hinckley, Oaks, Turley)
02:31:40 – Church Patriarch Smith showing magical papers at LDS church firesides in the 20th century
02:32:50 – Wilford C. Wood “buying up” valuable LDS Church artifacts
02:36:29 – Smearing critics - tragic story of LDS Church translator, Stan Larson, losing his testimony of Book of Mormon Historicity, and being forced out of LDS Church employment.
02:42:57 – Other LDS Scholars forced out or fired
02:44:40 – Discussion of top LDS Church leaders knowing the problems with the church’s core truth claims, but continuing to mislead members intentionally
02:46:55 – The “rule” that Joseph Smith can’t be known as an intentional deceiver
02:49:56 – Did Mormon General Authority Hugh B. Brown admit that he did not believe in Book of Abraham historicity to Thomas Ferguson?
02:51:46 – Did Mormon General Authority B.H. Roberts loose his faith in Book of Mormon historicity?
02:59:51 – The integrity of Jerald Tanner.
03:05:53 - Martin Harris as one of the three witnesses
03:07:26 - Potential motives and means for deception
03:12:39 - Do LDS General Authorities have the gift of discernment? The Anthon Manuscript and photo of Hofmann with LDS General Authorities
03:16:25 - Questioning authenticity of salamander letter
03:32:13 - “Salamander or Moroni?” pamphlet for Sunstone Symposium
03:46:07 - The unwritten rule of the Mormon history community – “Don’t question Joseph Smith’s sincerity, or face marginalization”
03:52:51 - How Jerald and Sandra Tanner were disrespected by the Mormon history community & treatment of the Tanners by Dialogue and Sunstone (Tanners not allowed to have display table at Sunstone)
03:56:13 – Begrudging acceptance of Tanners after Jerald is vindicated.
04:01:01 – How Sandra’s work affected the relationship with her sister, who was embarrassed by her work
04:03:05 – God was Sandra’s motivation to keep going.
04:07:41 – The McLellin papers & other Hofmann forgeries
04:09:11 – Sandra’s discussion of Richard Turley’s book on Hofmann, Victims, & Mormon church’s obstruction of the murder investigation
04:13:47 – Hofmann’s motives for murder & conviction
04:19:27 - Discussion of first murder
04:23:13 - Brent Ashworth as potential target of Hofmann’s 3rd bomb
04:33:04 - Mark Hofmann’s plan to forge the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon

Direct download: MormonStories-1405-SandraTanner2021pt1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:05am MDT

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

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

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

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

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

Join us as we explore the following questions:

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

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 MDT

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 MDT

  • 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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT