Mormon Stories - LDS

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

In Part 2 of a multi-part series with Jim, we discuss in-depth his approach to maintaining belief in the Mormon church AFTER exposure to all of the historical and social problems currently vexing the LDS church, as highlighted in Jeremy Runnell's groundbreaking book "CES Letter: My Search for Answers to my Mormon Doubts."

Today's episode covers:

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

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

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

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

In Part 2 of a multi-part series with Jim, we discuss in-depth his approach to maintaining belief in the Mormon church AFTER exposure to all of the historical and social problems currently vexing the LDS church, as highlighted in Jeremy Runnell's groundbreaking book "CES Letter: My Search for Answers to my Mormon Doubts."

Today's episode covers:

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

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

Direct download: MormonStories-1378-JimBennettPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm MDT

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

In Part 1 of a multi-part series with Jim, we discuss in-depth his approach to maintaining belief in the Mormon church AFTER exposure to to all of the historical and social problems currently vexing the LDS church, as highlighted in Jeremy Runnell's groundbreaking book "CES Letter: My Search for Answers to my Mormon Doubts.

Today's episode covers:

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

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

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

Then he met Clint Ford.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Topics for today:

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

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

Part 1 covers...

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

https://youtu.be/svHV0bQEHwA

Part 2 covers... 

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

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

Part 3 covers...

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1 covers...

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

https://youtu.be/svHV0bQEHwA

Part 2 covers... 

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

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

Part 3 covers...

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

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

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

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

Mormon Stories Listeners,

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

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

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

I could really use your help in the following way:

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

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

Thank you so, so much for your support.

John Dehlin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul's Mormon story includes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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