638-639: Dr. Thomas Murphy on the Book of Mormon, DNA, His Cancelled Disciplinary Council, and Native American Anthropology

bildeIn 2002 anthropologist Thomas Murphy, Ph.D. published the first peer reviewed academic journal article on DNA and the Book of Mormon, demonstrating that DNA evidence (at the time) did not support the Book of Mormon’s historical claims.  Dr. Murphy was subsequently summoned to an LDS disciplinary council for apostasy, but the disciplinary council was “called off” at the last minute, and he has not been pursued since.

In this two-part podcast series, Dr. Murphy discusses:

  • His early years in the LDS church.
  • His loss of LDS belief as a young adult as a result of military service, demonstrated lack of inspiration on the part of his church leaders, and information he learned as an anthropologist working primarily amongst native Americans.
  • His research and publication regarding DNA and the Book of Mormon.
  • His work as an anthropologist in Latin America, including field work in Mexico and Guatemala.

To access Thomas’ academic writings on Mormonism, see here.


BONUS: Reply All Podcast Episode #55 – “The Line”

ReplyAll_Logo_2400pxEpisode #55 of “The Line” Podcast

February 18, 2016

“I was so thirsty and hungry after the truth, my whole body aching for answers.” Hans Mattsson, LDS Church leader 2000-05

This week we have a story about a big group of people with the same questions. Difficult, complicated, heartbreaking ones. These people all have one thing in common — they’re Mormons. Reporter Karen Duffin tells their story.

Further Reading

New York Times story, “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt”

New Essays on LDS Church Website

The Facts

Our theme song is by The Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder.

Our ad music is by Build Buildings.

637: The Mama Dragons and the Mama Dragon Story Project

13221169_956825632829_2928891029997176398_oThe Mama Dragons group consists of almost 1,000 Mormon, post-Mormon, and now never-Mormon women who are dedicated to:

  1. Loving their LGBT children.
  2. Preventing LGBT youth suicide.
  3. Supporting parents of LGBT children to better love and support their children.
  4. Rescuing rejected LGBT children from homelessness and abuse.
  5. Attending funerals of deceased LGBT youth in support of the surviving families.

The Mama Dragon Story Project collects portraits and autobiographical essays from mothers with LGBT children.

This episode was recorded on May 18th, 2016 in Salt Lake City at Club/Cafe at 50 West.  Participants include Kimberly Anderson, Deb Glenn, Brooke Caldwell, Jody Hansen England, Wendy Williams Montgomery, and Julie Packer.

Important links:


636: Rape in Mormon Culture

IMG_2574In this episode Dr. John Dehlin and Lindsay Hansen Park (Feminist Mormon Housewives, Sunstone, Year of Polygamy, Color of Heaven) host a panel discussion about rape within Mormon culture.  The panel features Aubri Parameter, an assault survivor, Kathryn Jones-Porter, a victim’s advocate in Salt Lake County, and Donna Kelly, who has worked as a prosecutor for the last twenty-four years, devoting much of her time to working with victims of sex crimes.





Jamesthemormon – An Update

May 16, 2016 (Update)
Friends – I just got off the phone with James Curran (aka Jamesthemormon) and wanted to give an update.
The abbreviated version of the conversation is as follows:
  • It should be acknowledged that James showed class and respect for my/our concerns (outlined below, from the original post) by cancelling his planned event in Provo last Sunday.  Kudos to James for doing this.
  • James acknowledged to me that there was a huge gap in understanding between what his intentions were with the event vs. what many people interpreted to be his intentions.  He was definitely willing to accept his share of the responsibility for this misunderstanding.
  • James made it very clear to me that when he watched Tyler Glenn’s video Trash, the predominant reaction that he felt when watching the video was one of EMPATHY for the pain/suffering that Tyler (and other LGBT Mormons) experience within the LDS church.  In other words, Tyler’s video helped James to feel increased compassion for the plight of LGBT Mormons in light of the November, 2015 policy change.
  • Consequently, James stated that his primary intent when creating the “Treasure” video was to communicate the message to the world (not just Mormons) that we all need to treat each other with more kindness/love/respect.
  • James wanted to make it very clear that he was NOT responding to Tyler’s video with any sense of criticism, negativity, or opposition.  Only with love, compassion, and empathy for Tyler’s (and LGBT) pain/suffering.  He even went so far as to say that if he were LDS and LGBT, he probably would likely leave the church as well (which I thought was really cool of him to acknowledge…to me..that showed some important empathy).

In addition:

  • I thanked James for having the class to directly reach out to me.
  • I apologized to James for not reaching out to him first before publishing my blog post.
  • I agreed to write this clarification.

I am super glad that James and I talked this through. I sincerely wish both Tyler Glenn and Jamesthemormon all the love and success in the world, and hope that believing Mormons everywhere will adopt the compassion/empathy for LGBT Mormons (and doubting Mormons, and ex-Mormons, and Mormons of color, and Mormon feminists) that James says he is trying to model here.

Tons of love.

John Dehlin

May 15, 2016 (Original Post)
TL;DR — Seeking the help of Mormons and Post-Mormons who are feminist, people of color, LGBT, and/or doubting/skeptical/disbelieving (along with their allies) to send KIND messages to Jamesthemormon and his followers — that James’ recent, opportunistic attempts to misrepresent and attack Tyler Glenn’s Trash video amount to gaslighting (invalidating the pain of others).
Full Version: A promising young Mormon rapper named Jamesthemormon is making what many feel is an unfortunate move. Instead of actually *listening* to the genuine pain behind Tyler Glenn‘s experience as a gay/doubting Mormon (as expressed in his video Trash and in his Mormon Stories interview), Jamesthemormon appears to be using Tyler’s video as a way to start a culture war, and to gaslight (invalidate) the painful experiences of LGBT, feminist, and intellectual Mormons — along with Mormon people of color.   
As of yesterday Jamesthemormon is promoting a genuinely tone-deaf song called “Treasure,” along with an in-person movement, wherein he:
  1. Explicitly promotes the factually incorrect and absolutely ridiculous and invalidating notion that the LDS Church is “not some racist or homophobic organization…” and
  2. Completely misses/avoids/misrepresents the main points of Tyler Glenn’s Trash video — i.e., that LGBT, intellectual, and feminist Mormons, along with may Mormon people of color feel devalued or “thrown out” like “trash” by the LDS church for being who they are — and instead chooses to promote a very-sweet-but-completely-tone-deaf-and-invalidating-point which is that all of God’s children are a “treasure” in God’s eyes.  Again — a very sweet notion, that is completely irrelevant to Tyler’s core message.

To many, this move by Jamesthemormon feels like an attempt to:

  1. Take advantage of Tyler’s risk/vulnerability/pain in an opportunistic way to promote his budding career,
  2. Rally a culture war amongst believing Mormons against Tyler Glenn and his supporters, and
  3. Most importantly, since Jamesthemormon COMPLETELY misses Tyler’s main point, his song/movement feel like an attempt to gaslight Tyler and his supporters in a way that feels both invalidating and hurtful.

James is calling on Utah Mormons (along with all surrounding LDS wards and stakes) to support his song, and to show up today (Sunday May 15th, 4pm to 8pm) at Provo City Center temple to show their opposition to Tyler’s song/message.

What I think would be awesome would be if LGBT, feminist, and doubting/post-Mormons, along with Mormon people of color who do not agree that the LDS church is “not some racist or homophobic organization…”….and who object to the way that Jamesthemormon is opportunistically gaslighting Tyler Glenn and his supporters….would find a way to lovingly and kindly communicate the following messages to Jamesthemormon:

  1. Please stop gaslighting us.
  2. Please stop opportunistically using other people’s sincere/genuine pain as a way to advance your own career by instigating a culture war .

Opposition can come in many forms, including:

  1. Showing up at Jamesthemormon’s event today with signs that express kind and thoughtful disappointment with his actions.
  2. Kindly expressing public disappointment in Jamesthemormon’s actions (without directly supporting his video).
  3. Using social media to lovingly and kindly educate Jamesthemormon and his followers as to why these actions are invalidating and hurtful.

Please do whatever you can to help educate Jamesthemormon and his followers in kind ways that what they are doing feels invalidating and hurtful to those who are in pain.

635: Mormons Respond to Tyler Glenn’s Controversial “Trash” Music Video

TGJosephSmithIn this episode five Mormons (Dr. Jana Riess, Samy GalvezDr. Kristy MoneyDerrick Clements, and Samantha Louise Shelley) discuss, explore, and interpret Tyler Glenn’s new and controversial music video entitled “Trash.”

Trash Lyrics.



Trash Video:

634: Clay Christensen Threatened with Excommunication for his Podcast Interview

ClayChristensenIn December, 2015 Mormon Stories Podcast interviewed Clay Christensen and his brother-in-law Matt Elggren about Matt’s loss of LDS faith in 2003, and Clay’s subsequent loss of faith in October, 2015 after 50 years active LDS membership, and after 7 years as a high-level LDS Church employee.

In April, 2016 Clay was contacted by his stake president and invited to a disciplinary council to be excommunicated for apostasy.  The reason given for the disciplinary council was Clay’s Mormon Stories Podcast.  This is Clay’s update since his December, 2015 interview.




631-633: Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees

TylerGlennTyler Glenn is best known as the lead singer of the multi-platinum alternative pop band Neon Trees.

Tyler was raised LDS/Mormon in Temecula, California.  After discovering a love for music in high school and serving an LDS mission, Tyler moved to Provo, UT with his buddy Chris to form Neon Trees (named after the trees on the In and Out signs).  Neon Trees signed with Mercury Records in 2009 and went on to release three successful alternative pop albums: Habits (2010), Picture Show (2012), and Pop Psychology (2014).

Tyler knew he was gay as a child, but struggled as a teen and adult to reconcile his sexuality with his LDS faith.  These struggles took Tyler to some sad/dark places, which were only exacerbated by his fame as a pop star.  At age 27 (around the release of Picture Show), Tyler seriously contemplated ending his life.

In spite of these struggles, Tyler remained a full and literal believer in the LDS Church.  In 2014 Tyler decided that being a closeted gay man was contributing to his suicidality.  Consequently, he came out as gay to his family, band, friends — and to the world in Rolling Stone magazine — prior to the release of Pop Psychology in 2014.  From this point forward it was Tyler’s full intent to find and marry a gay man, and to raise children in the LDS church as a gay married Mormon.

Then, in November of 2015, the LDS church released its new policy branding same-sex married Mormons as automatic apostates, and prohibiting children of same-sex married couples from being baptized into the church.  This policy change sent Tyler into a faith tailspin, ultimately shattering his life plans as a believing, gay Mormon.

In this three part interview, we explore:

  • Part 1: Tyler’s early years as a young Mormon struggling with his sexuality.
  • Part 2: Tyler’s ascent (along with Neon Trees) into stardom…and the sadness/despair that followed.
  • Part 3: Tyler’s faith crisis instigated by the LDS policy change, along with his current beliefs/views regarding the LDS Church.

Part 1 Video: Tyler’s Early Years

Part 2 Video: Struggling with Fame and Authenticity

Part 3 Video: Tyler’s Faith Crisis

Register Now for the next Mormon Transitions Retreat: July 15-17, 2016

MormonTransitionsThe date of our next Mormon Transitions retreat is July 15-17, 2016 in Park City, Utah. Last retreat was rated 4.9 out of 5.0. Many said it changed their lives in a meaningful way.  Info about the retreat:
Note:  We plan to have two track for this retreat: a track for first-time retreat attendees, and a track for return retreat attendees!!!
  • Healing and growth during and after a Mormon transition
  • Communicating with believing loved ones
  • Positive mental health
  • Healthy marriage or single life
  • Better sex/healthier sexuality
  • Secular spirituality
  • Raising healthy children after a Mormon transition
  • Building community after a Mormon transition

Schedule: Event will begin at 6pm on Friday, July 15th and will end at 6pm on Sunday, July 17th.

Lodging: Lodging is not included in this event, although discounted resort lodging will likely be available.

Scholarships/Discounts: A limited number of scholarships/discounts to attend this retreat will be provided once a base number of registrants have registered.  If you are interested in receiving a scholarship to attend this event, please email mormontransitions@gmail.com and briefly explain: 1) what you hope to gain from attending this retreat, and 2) whatever you are comfortable sharing about your need for a scholarship.  If you are interested in contributing/donating a tax deductible scholarship to help fund another individual or couple attend this event, please email mormontransitions@gmail.com.

Registration Info:  Space is limited.  We expect this event to sell out soon.

Please send all questions to: mormontransitions@gmail.com.

Register for Retreat

Mormon Transitions July 2016 Retreat Registration

Donate to fund a scholarship (tax-deductible)

630: Black Mormon Lives Matter

IMG_1632John Dehlin and Lindsay Hansen Park interview Mica McGriggs, Samy Galvez, and Tinesha Zandamela about race relations in the Mormon church, and their experiences growing up as people of color in a predominately white church.







629: Mormons and Colonization with Edyka Chilome

EdykaChilomeIn this special episode of Mormon Stories podcast Lindsay Hansen Park (Sunstone, Year of Polygamy, Color of Heaven) interviews Edyka Chilome about Mormons and Colonization.

Edyka’s bio:

Edyka Chilomé, born Erica Granados – De La Rosa, is a queer woman of color writer, artist, social justice educator, and spiritual activist. She is the daughter of Salvadorian and Mexican spiritual, intellectual, and community leaders. Her many years of experience passionately walking and building with women, young people, and communities of color in the U.S. and Latin America have deeply informed her fusion of art, scholarship, and what she defines as her spiritual {art}ivism. Edyka has published numerous articles, essays, and poems including a collection of poetry that explores queer mestizaje in the diaspora entitled She Speaks | Poetry, praised by the founder of Democracy Now en Español as “…a must read for those yearning to discover new ways to open up to deep personal and global transformation.” She has been invited to share her spoken word poetry and speak on social justice issues around the country including The Texas Democratic Convention, TEDx, National Public Radio, and the Huffington Post. Edyka currently serves on the steering committee for Human Rights Dallas and is an instructor for Free Minds Dallas at El Centro College, host of the presidential award winning initiative The National Clemente Course for the Humanities.