483-486: Christine Jeppsen Clark, Daughter of General Authority Malcolm Jeppsen

261843_989736917299_5910793_nChristine Jeppsen Clark is a mother of six, a former Mormon Tabernacle Choir member, a Ph.D. graduate student focusing on dementia, and a dear personal friend.  She is also the daughter of the late Elder Malcolm S. Jeppsen — former LDS General Authority, personal physician and best friend to Elder Boyd K. Packer, and a GA who was directly involved in the excommunication of Avraham Gileadi (one of the September Six).  In this multi-part episode with Christine we discuss:

  • What it was like to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s in Salt Lake City as a very orthodox, devout member of a somewhat elite LDS family.
  • What it was like to grow up the daughter of an LDS General Authority, who was both a physician to, and best friends with Elder Boyd K. Packer
  • Elder Jeppsen’s personal and direct involvement in the excommunication of Avraham Giliadi — one of the September Six
  • How such an orthodox, committed LDS family including Christine (the daughter of a General Authority), her husband David Clark (former bishop of eight years, recent Stake Presidency member) and four of her six children could ultimately decide to leave the LDS Church, and
  • What it’s like to leave the LDS Church as a grandparent in your 50s and 60s.

Below are excerpts from “Up Close And Personal: The Life History of Malcolm Seth and Marian Jeppsen” relating to Avraham Giliadi (pages 433 – 437), shared with permission of Christine Jeppsen Clark (editing for spelling/grammar by Christine).  This excerpt describes how Elder Jeppsen was directly involved in the excommunication of Avraham Giliadi — a member of the September Six — all while the LDS church was claiming that the September Six excommunications were local matters (see here for the history surrounding the denials of high-level GA involvement in the September Six). As the LDS church claims that the disciplinary councils of Kate Kelly and myself are local matters — this provides important insight into how LDS General Authorities influence local leaders in such matters (acknowledging that my disciplinary council is not yet a foregone conclusion).

“A Widely Known Priest Crafter.”

“In October of this year another challenge presented itself concerning a brother who lived in the Salem Stake. His Stake President was President Randall Gibbs, an oral surgeon. The man had studied for a year in Jerusalem and then placed himself up as a “Jewish Scholar,” and became a true priest crafter. He would go up and down the state giving lectures on the end of the earth, etc., for $50 admission fee. He wrote a book entitled “The Last Days,” and that’s how I got involved. The Ensign was going to print a chapter of his book, which became immensely popular, as an article in the magazine.

I was serving on the Correlation Committee of the Church at the time, and our committee looks at everything the Church publishes, even music it sings or letters written by headquarters or anyone else, etc. The chapter was obvious false doctrine. We disapproved it, and even contacted the members of the Twelve whose responsibility was Deseret Book, and they agreed it was false doctrine.

His stake president was not interested in doing much about the problem. I prodded him two times and actually gave him a copy of a report from the correlation committee outlining his false doctrines that he was teaching. On his third visit to my office he thanked me for my counsel and was leaving when I put my arm around him and said “We’re short on counsel in this office but long on direction. I’m directing you to take action to correct or else excommunicate this man. He cannot be allowed to be teaching what he is teaching and remain a member of the Church.”

Still nothing happened, so he was released as a stake president. The new one called was a professor at BYU by the name of Leaun Otten. He was appraised of the problem, and moved to correct it quickly. I gave him permission to use his regional representative in any fashion he wanted, to cross boundaries of responsibility, and gather whatever evidence he felt he needed.

Let me just tell you what happened on the other side of the telephone call I made. President Otten came home from work that day really troubled about this disciplinary council he was going to conduct on this brother the following evening because of only having one witness. He even said to his wife I’ve had the feeling that my Area President is going to call me with another witness, and had barely said it when the phone call from me rang through. When I went to talk to President Otten on the telephone he didn’t answer. I was wondering what was the matter, when it finally dawned on me that he was in tears. He finally got out, through his crying, the statement :” President Jeppsen, we know who runs this Church don’t we”? To which I agreed we did.

I went to the meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve that morning being held in the upper room of the temple where we were always invited to meet with them, also the first Thursdays of each month, and reported directly to them what had happened. They were most interested in learning of this incident.

The brother was excommunicated, and immediately the next day other dissidents who heard about it came to him wanting him to sign on to a full page ad in the Tribune blasting what they were calling religious freedom. He would have none of it. Telling them he had made a mistake, but he still loved the Church immensely and would stop his seminars, etc., and do whatever he needed to do to get his membership restored. This he was faithful in doing, and in about 18 months he was rebaptized into the Church. I sent him a letter of congratulations when that happened and called it to the attention of the First Presidency.”

236 comments for “483-486: Christine Jeppsen Clark, Daughter of General Authority Malcolm Jeppsen

  1. Joe Geisner
    July 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Very cool John, Malcolm Jeppsen is an interesting individual. He was the clean-up guy from Utah county, and south. He went after the right-wing political folks and the people who had fundamentalist leanings, often these were the same folks. I am excited to listen, thank you for doing this. I have a talk he gave sometime about 1993 “We Shall Not Be Led Astray-III,” which was part of this clean-up effort.

    • Kay
      July 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm


      I’ve looked a little bit online to see if I could locate the Malcolm Jeppsen ‘We Shall Not Be Led Astray-III” talk but haven’t been able to find it. Any chance you would share it?

      • Joe Geisner
        July 10, 2014 at 8:29 am

        Yes Kay. If John is okay with it, I can put the talk on dropbox and share a link. Is this okay with you John?

        • Alison
          July 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

          I would love to see this if it’s OK with John & Christine.

        • July 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

          Of course!

      • Joe Geisner
        July 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

        Maybe this is way more than people are interested, but I have also scanned and pdf’ed all my old newspaper clippings from the 1980’s to the Internet age that covers a great deal of this time period, but with a little about Gileadi. The Sunstone news feed I link below is the most detailed on Gileadi and this matches with friends of mine who lived in Utah county and what they told me at the time. If I recall correctly, Otten was Patriarch at the time, and then made Stake Prez.

        • Alison
          July 10, 2014 at 9:58 am

          This too. 🙂

    • Joe Geisner
      July 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      I hope people enjoy. I spent hours making these article into pdf. So I am really hoping people will find them useful. There is a goldmine here, there is all kinds of stuff about how the excommunications of 1993 were a coordinated effort. The evolution of how things developed is quite interesting. enjoy!




      • Jess
        July 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

        Thanks Joe. If we don’t know our history how can we learn from it?

      • cowens
        July 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        thanks for this. this is a powerful document of the modern lds church.

      • Joe Geisner
        July 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm

        It makes my heart happy that you folks found this work helpful. I find it satisfying to help others learn about our past, just as Jess commented, we need to learn from our past. Plus, Mormonism has such a rich and powerful history, it is quite addictive.

        • Adrie de Jong
          July 26, 2014 at 4:21 am

          WOW !

          Thank you for all the work you’ve done to share it with us !

          I totally agree that Mormonism and it’s history is addictive ! Like John and Kate say: you just don’t wash it off and leave behind !

          It’s part of our mindset and thinking and interpreting the things one sees and faces. Joseph Smith truly did a great job ! I hope The Brethren start seeing this too and get some confidence to let go, so, it can be investigated from many sides and insights. The Theo-ry [Theo=God] is strong enough to handle this and invites us and wants to be explored.

          Now our Leaders ? Will they step in the footsteps and vision of Joseph Smith and celebrate ? Or will they keep on serving us milk instead of a tough piece of meat to chew on ? I would ask: make our brains work, don’t keep them lazy !

          Joe, thank you for so much food for thought !

          Adrie de Jong
          The Netherlands

      • dt
        July 15, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        Thanks for the links — does anyone have the full transcript of the section about Gileadi from the Malcom Jeppson book? I tried to get the digitized copy, but The Church History Library response was that they could not, they did not have copyright permission. The only way to read it is by going to the Library. Anyone have that to share? Just the pages on Gileadi, that Christine did not read on the podcast.

  2. b0yd
    July 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    What is it about Americans and family photos where they all wear matching clothing?
    Anyway, I look forward to listening to another success story. I hope the 2 remaining kids wake up and escape too

    • scott
      July 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Why the hate bro?

    • Marjean
      July 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      We had our kids each wear something that represented a part of them. One had her cello, one wore her PJs because she was pregnant and always sick in bed, one wore her ski duds, one had his golf clubs…..get the picture?

    • Dawn Lair West
      July 10, 2014 at 10:09 am


      Talk to any professional photographer, it is recommended to wear clothing in the same color scheme.

  3. andrew h
    July 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Is it possible to get a full copy of Up Close And Personal: The Life History of Malcolm Seth and Marian Jeppsen” and if so, how?

  4. Richard Clark
    July 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I’m one of Chris’ “apostate” children. I’m extremely proud of my mom for doing this interview and think she’s brought a lot of important information to light. I also appreciate John’s efforts to have these conversations about difficult subjects. It’s crucial for members of any organized religion to become educated about the tenants of your belief systems, regardless of what they may be.

    • lizzythebotanist
      July 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      yeah, dick, but what about your matching shirts??? lolzzzz.

      • Worn again Mormon
        July 9, 2014 at 1:52 am

        Richard — I agree that you can be rightly proud of your mom, and no doubt your dad too. You may have had a big role in facilitating their awareness — at least that’s how it turned out in our family. Our adult kids were the first among us to be ‘brave.’ That may also be a generational thing…

        I also join you in thanking John for hosting this important interview and so many other pod casts that have helped so many clarify thoughts and feelings on this journey to wholeness.

    • Brian C
      July 10, 2014 at 4:45 am

      @Richard… if you could kindly show this to your Mom that would be Great!


      First, your story is inspiring to me as I see many corollaries to my experience growing up in the church and being a TBM for years. I suspect that your TBM years and successive faith crisis strikes a common cord with many people who listen. I believe that I too have a similar brain to you… it never shuts off. It is a brain that remembers very thoroughly the statements that have been made in church, whether by leaders, or by reading the curriculum. The incessant dogmatic iron rod statements that are subsequently counteracted by other more reasonable Liahona statements becomes an all too frequent thing to hear from our leaders over time. Leaving us often with the conclusion that hardly a person in leadership since the beginning can be trusted to know what is correct.

      Lastly, you mentioned that your brother Rob was given in his Patriarchal Blessing the knowledge that he was the best friend to Satan in the previous life and that Satan would love nothing more than to lead him down the incorrect path. I find that interesting because shortly after getting off of my mission when I was a young man my Bishop gave me a short blessing during a setting apart in front of my family (young men’s leader). Afterwards, I was called in to talk to him where he let me know that he could not say it in front of everyone but that it was revealed to him that I was one of the Elect of Father’s children because I was best friends with Satan! I was told that I was one of the first persons that Satan tried to get to go to his side and that all the way up to the bitter end… he was still trying to persuade me most of anyone! Also, I was told that out of all people on this Earth, Satan was trying to get me the most. So, if you could kindly let Rob know that Satan had more best friends than just him I would appreciate it… I don’t think Rob should be going through this life not knowing that there is someone else that Satan wants (in case he felt like maybe he had a special relationship with Satan exclusively as best friends). I know I feel kind of jealous now knowing that I was not Satan’s only best friend. It shouldn’t surprise me though… after all, he is SATAN! Double crossing two timing best friend jerk! With Regards and all the best! – Brian C.

      • Doubting Thomas
        July 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm

        Satan’s best friend. There’s a new one. Most likely thrown around by priesthood leaders who knew each other and had heard it through the grapevine.

        Pure nonsense and I know… Because I WAS SATAN’S BEST FRIEND.

        What are going to do with these priesthood leaders?

      • Aaron
        July 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm

        Brian C., this is both the most disturbing and the most entertaining thing I’ve read in a while. Although I’m feeling super left out that I wasn’t Satan’s BFF!

        • Brian C
          July 12, 2014 at 12:28 am


          Yes… talk about an elite crowd… BFF with SATAN! The ultimate circle of distrust. I always wondered though if I walked by Michael Ballam, would he still recognize me from the previous life? If you want, we could be best friends? and then you could say that you are best friends with the best friend of Satan. :O

    • Dawn Lair West
      July 10, 2014 at 10:02 am


      Your Mom is one amazing woman! Tell her THANK YOU for sharing her story!

    • Richard O
      July 17, 2014 at 12:11 am

      Hi Richie,
      I have the highest respect and love for you and your family. Your home was always my second home for many years growing up. I do remember your mom sewing all of the time and constantly making crafts. She was also an amazing teacher as I sat in several scripture study mornings after a sleep over or monday night FHE with your family. The fresh baked bread was awesome, but I still can’t eat fried zucchini fries to this day after I gorged myself on Chris’ new fried zucchini recipe. They tasted great going down, but terrible coming back up.

      You were an awesome friend during those late elementary and early middle school years. I learned a lot from you and your family and after listening to this Podcast, I am still learning so much from the Clark family.

      I wish you all the greatest of success in this great journey we call life. Thanks for the goodness you shared with me and how it helped to shape who I am today!

  5. Rebecca Simmons
    July 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I am Christine’s former mission companion. Tell her I love her and support her, she is a brave and strong woman.

  6. jon
    July 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Hey John,

    It would be nice if you could set up a torrent seed for downloading files or, even simpler, set up a BitTorrent Sync (BTSync) folder and just post the read-only key. Then we could all download at once, the more people that want to listen the faster the download! Also, your hosting cost would go way down.

    It will be nice when the internet finally evolves to a distributed internet.

  7. BoundNoMore
    July 8, 2014 at 12:37 am

    The dialogue between you and Christine is so rich in the last segment. As soon as I realized that the church that I have loved and defended and trusted was NOT the church that Christ patterned… that is when I knew I would have to leave Mormonism. Thanks for excellent podcast!!

  8. July 8, 2014 at 4:05 am

    I was moved and awakened when I read the following:

    > When I went to talk to President Otten on the telephone he didn’t answer. I was wondering what was the matter, when it finally dawned on me that he was in tears. He finally got out, through his crying, the statement :” President Jeppsen, we know who runs this Church don’t we”? To which I agreed we did.

  9. Joe Geisner
    July 8, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I am now in the second hour and as Christine discusses the obedience mind set, the excommunication of young people, and the focus on it being better for people to be dead than “immoral” brings back a flood of memories. I knew Kimball and Packer were the significant players in this horror filled movie, but I had no idea Malcolm Jeppsen played such an important role.

    What I find most amazing, we had the story right in 1993, even with all the Church secrecy. Now we have public confirmation by one of the GA participants. Really quite amazing, and a wonderful podcast:


    • belb
      July 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

      I really want to listen but it keeps cutting out!!:(

  10. Anthony
    July 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Awesome Interview! Thanks Christine!

  11. Sarah Davies
    July 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I just listened to the 4th segment. Incredible. I loved it!!! I’m so moved and happy for Christine and for her family. Thank you for your courage. Thanks for sharing.

    • Bryan
      July 9, 2014 at 9:32 am

      I have listened to the 4th segment 3 times now. I love it!! I am talking to my Bishop tonight about the issues I have and this segment gives me confidence going into the meeting. Thank you both for the great conversation.

  12. July 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    FYI…download problems should all be fixed now — and forever going forward. Sorry about the trouble!!!

  13. Stanton
    July 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    As I am wont I had my desert first and started with the last segment of the interview. Your story encapsulates so many of the patterns that John has identified in working with folks who question and leave, Christine. By your own telling, you of all people might have been expected to press forward, striving to embrace the traditional narrative of your Mormon forefathers. I found nothing unreasonable in your questions and concerns–they’re the same ones revealed in John’s landmark survey. Your courage to leave the Rapunzel’s tower of the beliefs of your heritage, however, is remarkable; you sound happy to be out in the sunshine. You sound like many of the great women–in and out of the Church–that I’ve met in my life. Surely God has a vital work for you wherever your path leads.

    This is a lively, rich conversation, John. Thank you. I felt the friendship you and Christine share. Your mock devil’s advocate questions made me smile every time. I couldn’t help but thinking you’ve laid down a challenge for who commands allegiance for the heart and soul of the Church. With information increasingly outside of the control of the central hierarchy and so much of the focus of the Church devoted to corporatism instead of Jesus’ charge to care for the poor and needy, will leadership follow the spirit or follow the latest, most successful pilot studies? What will the membership choose to follow?

    While I’m personally inclined to stay I’m intrigued that you’re inclined to stay also. I have no problem with Christine and her family choosing another path. I hope you, Waterman, Kloosterman, Malone and all the other heretics on the hit list are allowed to stay. A church open to its honest questioners will be open to growing into whatever God has in store for it. OK, I’m ready to go back and eat my salmon steak, baked potato and peas.

  14. July 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Christine, John, et al,

    I’m in the same age group as Christine. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. My dad wasn’t a GA, is was a drunk for many years, never a member of the LDS church, but to his credit in later life he changed and turned out to be a successful businessman.

    My heart ached as I listened to Christine’s deconversion. I guess it is happening a lot nowadays. I would probably be there myself if it wasn’t for the fact that I, how shall I put it; I have been given a gift by Heavenly Father that makes it impossible for me to doubt or disbelieve. I’m believe I’m in the position Nephi referred to in 2 Nephi 31:14 because having been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost.

    Having stated this so those who read my comment will understand, as best they can, my perspective I will add the following.

    I believe church leaders are in a difficult position. I believe they would like to speak frankly about many things but they fear the cost would be higher than the benefit.

    I think there have been many errors made by church leaders. They are not infallible, and tell us this is the case. But just how fallible they are is coming more and more apparent, not only to church membership but to themselves.

    The Book of Mormon makes this clear about the prophets and church members from the Nephite culture. Alma the older’s experience when they formed the first church and built up the city of Helman clearly teaches that the Lord will allow his prophets and followers to be tried in tested in the most severe ways imaginable (Mosiah 23-24)(see also Alma the younger’s experience in the city of Ammoniah).

    I believe Latter-day-Saints in our day are going through a trial of like dimension. The solution is to turn to God with full purpose of heart and ask for a manifestation of the Spirit sufficient to put you in a position where you can’t doubt the claims of the church.

    I find no deconversion testimonies that even mention an Enos like effort to know God before they leave the church.

    • Joe
      July 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm


      I appreciate you sharing your perspective. You mention that you have not seen any “Enos like effort(s) to know God before (a person) leave(s) the (C)hurch.” Perhaps you have not looked at our stories too deeply? Or maybe you have struggled to really hear/listen to us?

      I can guarantee/testify that many of us struggled for months/years trying to sort through the historical information we were discovering. Many of us spent huge amounts of time and effort attempting to contextualize our “spiritual”/emotional feelings with the information we were learning.

      I would bet every one of us could tell you the very moment when we allowed a single thought to enter our mind: “Maybe The TOJCLDS isn’t true?” It is at that very moment–the moment when we allow our minds to entertain that thought–that our minds became clear. It was at that very moment we all realized that the Church is NOT true!

      There is a reason why the LDS Church cannot be open/honest with the facts. There is a very specific reason why they rationalize their “lying for the Lord!” That reason is because the evidence is so overwhelmingly against the Churches truth claims that no rational person can believe the narrative when it is shared with honesty/integrity.

      • July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm


        I accept that it is difficult to learn the issues of church history and not be tested severely.

        I learned nearly all of what is on the internet in our day about church history and doctrine when I was a student at BYU in the early 1970’s.

        Because of the life changing manifestation of Spirit soon after my mission, I was hungry to learn all I could about doctrine and church history. I dug into the special collections material and prayerfully sought out religion teachers who would answer my questions-Hugh Nibley, Hyrum Andrus, and others.

        After a few years of study,including both BYU and all the anti-mormon material I could get my hands on, I was astonished at what I learened.

        I knew then, that the day we’re in would come: a day of doubt and apostasy. But I also knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be. My experience with the Savior followed the pattern taught in the Book of Mormon.

        Based on my experience, I encourage those who are in a faith crisis to take the time to test the power of fasting and prayer and the promises Heavenly Father has given about answering prayer. I know by experience that it takes an effort far beyond what church members typically think it will take to obtain an answer.

        The Book of Mormon teaches that we need to wrestle with God, plead and repent in order to obtain the kind of manifestation needed. I’ve read many accounts in the last 8 years about people leaving the church. Mighty prayer is absent in their testimonies.

        Best to you.

        • David S
          July 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm

          Correlation-deep roots do no produce spiritual depth.

          Service in the church can refine, but it doesn’t produce knowledge.

          A good church pedigree bestows little more than pride.

          The Book of Mormon only condemns Mormonism. 2 Nephi 28, for example. But it also gives the remedy: Go to God yourself for light and knowledge. He does give.

          When God speaks to me, it is not with emotion, but by “pure intelligence”. It is light and truth as tangible as anything one can experience through the scientific method.

          It is important to put one’s faith in Christ, NOT the Brethren.

          I rejoice gratefully in my loss of faith in the church. So I know what that sense of liberation is. But my distancing from so much “false and vain and foolish doctrine” has only brought me into greater use and reliance on the Book of Mormon and the revelations of Joseph. This is where real depth and tangible light and knowledge can be found.

          • Lilli
            July 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm


            I agree with most of your points. Great post.

            And I definitely agree that the Spirit speak by ‘pure intelligence’ not by emotion or warm fuzzies, for everyone in every church or religion is just as sure as any Mormon that God has told them that their particular church or doctrine is true.

            Everyone in and out of the church is so easily deceived by false inspiration & revelation from the Adversary or from their own mind and heart yet most never think they are, they think it’s all from God.

            The only way we can know truth is to ‘prove’ it by comparing prophets, precepts and practices to what Christ taught, if it is contrary then it is false, no matter who teaches it.

            Christ warned us to beware of false prophets who look and act just like true ones. And it seems everyone is fooled by them, at least for a while.

            Unfortunately you are going to find that even Joseph and his Book of Mormon taught things contrary to Christ and thus prove that Joseph was not a true prophet even if he may have been a good man who really was innocent of polygamy as he said he was and you will find that the Book of Mormon could not be true scripture either, nor it’s prophets true prophets, for they and it teach so contrary to Christ.

            The Book of Mormon even leads all LDS astray by teaching them to base their testimonies of truth on emotion through the Holy Spirit rather then on concrete evidence by comparing what people do and say to what Christ taught, that way we can’t be led astray if we are truly following Christ’s teachings, for we will know if people are following Christ or not. Whereas, if we think the Spirit is telling us something is right or not, we can be and usually are easily deceived, to believe false things are true.

            The Church Christ set us never left the earth. There was no need for a restoration, for nothing had been lost. There have always been obscure prophets roaming the earth since Christ’s day, teaching those who have ears to hear truth, Christ’s Gospel and Priesthood have never left the earth, they have been in the New Testament all along for all to read and follow.

            Joseph proved he was a false prophet by establishing a Church that didn’t even follow Christ, then Brigham Young was even worse, preaching whoredoms and pinning them on Joseph, and preaching and practicing completely contrary to Christ’s teachings, as the Church still does today.

            The truly Christlike have always been so rare to find and they wouldn’t have anything to do with the LDS Church in Joseph’s day or Brigham’s or today, for they follow Christ and would easily see through Joseph’s, Brigham’s & today’s leaders falsehoods, pretenses and false scriptures.

            The words of Christ in the New Testament are the only scripture we need to gain eternal life, it’s all there, but no one follows it because it’s too hard. They would rather accept new scripture that is not so hard like the Book of Mormon, D&C or today’s weak conference talks.

          • Rude Dog
            July 29, 2014 at 2:03 am

            “When God speaks to me, it is not with emotion, but by “pure intelligence”. It is light and truth as tangible as anything one can experience through the scientific method.”

            Then Mr. S, man, put it to use! We have starvation, war, genocide, disease, torture, rape and pillage. So much of the world lives in squalor, disease, ignorance, illiteracy, and lack of clean drinking water. And to think we have people receiving “pure intelligence” to put forward, even to work with and show the godless secular scientific heathens how to relieve the suffering of millions! Please show its effectiveness through usefulness! Man, this world needs your gift. Otherwise, what is its value? If the only thing you can credit is another smiley religiously/missionary agenda guy, with an attending value a cocoon like insulated projectile using obedient righteousness as rocket fuel to your heaven while depriving us mere gentiles of such “pure intelligence”, then you’ll have to forgive our reluctance and answer the question; What did this “pure intelligence” do for you that cannot be done by somebody else that is not of the same belief? Seems to me like a lot of people have done far more for the betterment of humankind that have not claimed the “pure intelligence” angle that some do. What’s the gift and subsequent contribution that goes beyond your own world, other than your belief and written opinion?

        • Joe
          July 9, 2014 at 10:04 am

          @ Jared

          You keep using the term “anti-Mormon literature.” I served a mission in a Southern State, and I saw (and even read) a bunch of “anti-Mormon literature.” It is easy to get past cheesy anti-Mormon documents/books/pamphlets. They clearly misrepresent facts. It is easy to debunk them.

          For many of us who have left (or are in the process of leaving), we are NOT leaving because of “anti-Mormon literature”. Not unless you count ORIGINAL LDS Churches SOURCE DOCUMENTS as “ANTI-MORMON” materials.

          In short, your claim that we fall away because of “Anti-Mormon Materials”… well, it seems like a straw man argument to me.

          Let me share my personal experience. I was teaching Sunday School or Priesthood (I won’t get too specific regarding which). Anyway, I decided that I would “magnify my calling” by looking up the original source documents for every quote in the correlated lesson. I would use the citations to find the original quote (I usually had to travel back three to five books to find the original materials). My thinking was that these lessons would be far more impactful if we could discuss the context behind each quote or experience. Why was the talk given? What was happening socially or environmentally? How can we apply the experience and the related quote to us today?

          This effort failed big time. Nearly every time I located an original source… well, I became increasingly disenchanted. The quotes/citations in our current materials are NOT honest. These quotes/histories have been severely re-written to create the current spiritual and historical narrative that that you find in a correlated manual. But the narratives are NOT TRUE.**

          In short, everything I believed about The LDS Church was proven false. And I discovered a lot of nasty stuff in early church history. Sadly, I would find something that seemed off. “That cannot be true,” I would tell myself. Then while trying to disprove this new, ugly fact as “Anti-Mormon” I would find three LDS sources that confirmed it as true. But during the process I would typically find two or three new dirty little issue. It was a vicious cycle.

          What are we to do when we look at the original church narrative, and we discover a pile of heaping crap? What are we to do when we realize that the LDS Church is NOT HONEST? What do we do when we discover that the history we have been taught really didn’t happen?

          • Joseph Smith Jr no Saint (treasure seeking, etc.)
          • First Vision (changes based upon JS’s social issues)
          • Translation of BOM (problematic)
          • Translation of BOA (debunked)
          • Kinderhook (the smoking gun)
          • Kirkland Pentecostal Experience (Fake/misrepresented)
          • Kirkland Bank Fiasco (proof of JS character issues)

          –> I could go on and on and on. I ignored a bunch of items that are extremely troubling up through Kirkland. And I didn’t touch on a single item after (except Kinderhook).

          The bottom line is I KNOW that Joseph Smith, Jr was a fraudster. I KNOW he was a religious con-man. I KNOW that the current LDS narrative is fake or at least intellectually dishonest. I DO NOT TRUST the institution. And I DO NOT TRUST the current LDS Leadership.

          The sad thing is, just like John Dehlin, I like bits and pieces of the community. And I am good with the Gospel of Christ… so long as we are talking about HOPE and LOVE. A little girl from my ward came by to visit a few weeks back. I love the family, and I love this little girl. The people (on a local level) make the LDS Church almost bearable. But SLC keeps screwing it up.

          By that I mean that it is clear that the LDS Church does not want to carve out any room for literal non-believers. Kate Kelly, Rock W, John D, etc. all prove this. The LDS Church preaches a gospel of OBEDIENCE and FEAR. This isn’t the Christianity I believe in, nor is it the Christianity that I want to subscribe too. I want HOPE and LOVE. So why should I stay? WHY SHOULT ANYONE LIKE ME STAY?


          **I discovered fairly quickly that Joseph Fielding Smith was probably one of the worst offenders. He re-wrote/changed a lot of LDS Church history (with every book he wrote). He rewrote the history to make every person a saint. And he redefined even the most benign experiences into these incredible, spiritual experiences. But he was NOT honest with his works.

          • Seattle Provo Boy
            July 10, 2014 at 1:54 am

            Joe, that was awesome! Very well thought out and very well written and exactly where I am at. Thanks!

          • Lilli
            July 15, 2014 at 7:49 am


            I don’t see how you could stay. I don’t think you should stay. If you truly believe in and follow Christ you wouldn’t stay, for he warned us not to support or follow false prophets and false churches.

            It’s not just what’s in the history books, and the unrighteous preaching and practices of all the church leaders from Joseph to today, it’s also in what they Book of Mormon, D&C & BoA teaches, full of false doctrine, contrary to Christ.

            If we go back to Christ’s simple words and not allow anyone to add or take away anything from them, then they are our sure yardstick to measure all truth and so-called prophets and churches.

            Clearly a true church is not on the earth at this time and hasn’t been since Christ’s day, but his Gospel has never been lost, it’s all in the New Testament for anyone who wants to read and follow it.

            No one needs to attend a church in order to follow Christ, even his followers in his day didn’t go to a ‘church’, but they met in homes with like-minded family and friends.

            It’s ‘how’, ‘who’ & ‘what’ we follow & worship, not ‘where’.

          • Joe C
            July 16, 2014 at 10:01 am

            @ Lilli

            Just as I am appreciative of Jared’s response and insights, I want to thank you for your thoughts. However, just as with Jared, I am not sure you totally understand the issue.

            Lilli: You don’t need to attack the LDS Church using evangelical arguments or ideas. Specifically, your premise (as presented in your comment) appears to be based upon Revelations 22:18. But your usage of NT scripture is not intellectually honest.

            If you look at Chapter 1 and read the first 15-20 verses, it is clear that an angle appears to John and tells him, “John, I am about to show you some really amazing things. You need to write these revelations down in scrolls (books) and send them to the various Churches.”

            Then as you finish up the Book of Revelations–assuming you start on verse 6 in Chapter 22–the same angel again appears to John and says, “John, this is the end of the Revelations that God has asked me to show you. Praise to God. Now John, write these amazing things down in a book. And if any man changes the things you have written in this book then…” and we finish verse 18.

            Your interpretation is not exactly correct. There is nothing in the Bible that says revelation to man has ended. That argument is a fallacy.

            That said, I KNOW that The LDS Church is not what it claims to be. Simply stated, you don’t need to misquote scripture to try and prove a point (that point being that the LDS Church is NOT true). You need only to study/read that actually LDS source documents.

            If anyone is still reading this thread, this is what I said earlier when I mentioned that it is easy to discredit anti-Mormon rhetoric. It is not honest. My problem has been with actually LDS Church documents. It becomes clear–really fast–that the LDS Church is dishonest about their authority claims. 🙁

            This is also my big takeaway from religion in general. People misquote and misuse scripture for their own purpose and gain. And this makes me sad.

            Matthew 22
            37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    • Don
      July 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm


      Your position and questions posed are totally reasonable and understandable based on your frame of reference. I am not of the same generation but not far behind you and Christine having been born in 1960. At age 54 my crisis of faith stared with discovering the “Race and the Priesthood” essay on lds.org and realizing that in my judgement the “Brethren” could not possibly be in direct communication with Christ as I had been taught. I see no other explanation for how previous Prophets could have led the Church astray for a century and a half on this issue. And with this poor historical record, how can I trust what the Prophets are saying today?

      I have found that my concept of God and Christ are so tied to Mormon theology that, like a house of cards falling when one part is removed, the rest falls so quickly behind it. I like many others who question, are left trying to pick up the pieces and reconstruct a faith and belief in God.

      To expect many of us who feel duped by the Mormon Church and it’s leadership, to turn to the God of that faith like Enos in the Book of Mormon, would be like an abused spouse turning to the abuser for understanding and counsel. When in an abusive relationship, it is impossible to gain a true, objective view of that relationship…you must have distance from it to do so.

      I like most who struggle, do not want for you to agree with me and abandon your faith. To wish the earth-shattering emotional and spiritual pain that I have experienced these past 4 months upon anyone else would be the opposite of Christ-like behavior. If your faith in the LDS Church and its leadership is as firm as you say, then I am happy for you, and believe that your life will be fulfilling as you continue on your present path. Also know that if that were to ever change, that there is a community of people waiting and willing to offer you love, support and understanding.

    • Jess
      July 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

      I’m interested in your outlook moving forward, Jared. Thanks in part to Mormon Stories I’ve been exposed to the length and breadth of perplexing details about the Church™. At least for now, staying makes sense to me, but I’m wondering if one can or would want to remain in our proud and arrogant Gentile church without the baptism of fire. What do you think? If the Book of Mormon is to be believed the Church™ will probably continue to devolve instead of evolve. If the D&C is to be believed we’ll remain in a spiritual pickle until one mighty and strong comes to set the Lord’s house in order. Do you remain active while simply believing–in your case knowing–a different narrative? What keeps you loving and friendly in the face of turmoil?

      You remind me of Rock Waterman in that he also experienced the baptism of fire and found himself increasingly loyal to Jesus Christ while increasingly less enthusiastic about the church that bears his name. Like you, he feels compelled to share what he knows in a quiet, friendly manner. Hopefully unlike you, Waterman is on the hit list for excommunication. If you’re not familiar with his work you might find it interesting.

    • Rude Dog
      July 29, 2014 at 3:35 am

      Jared, it is not even argued anymore that the Book of Mormon is or is not an historical account. You can use it as metaphor, but don’t come here and say “the Book of Mormon makes it clear” as if the BoM is objective truth. The BoM is describes a subjective narrative with a small following that accepts it as an actual historical account.

      Helaman, Enos, Alma are fictional characters, that only in theory gives us a metaphorical moral account that can be considered suspect based on the givers biased account. I know you think you are arguing in behalf of those present, however that’s not accurate. The BoM is a claim about the natural world and can be examined and evaluated by natural means, and it turns out is absolutely falsifiable as an historical account of the Americas. Let’s go beyond as I won’t even waste time otherwise and talk BoM as a valued mythological yet moral based and valued account of the Americas.

      Remind me how we get around the unsavory racism of the “dark and loathsome”, and “a filthy people” = black skin account of the Book of Mormon? Remind me how we get around the obvious cultural imperialism claimed by the Book of Mormon, robbing the descendants of the Mayan, the Aztecs and Inca their rightful heritage telling them it was white skinned Hebrews that built the great societies, cities and cultures. The same cultures giving rise to maybe the third or fourth only original written language and not their dark skinned barbaric forefathers?

      Let’s turn to god for the answer………………………………………………………………. Let us know when we have an answer. Don’t forget when humankind turned to god about a flat earth, about earths position in the universe, and about our position in creation seems like god is 0, scientific method of falsification and confirmable observation is 3. Let’s not even get into the big bang, star formation, galaxy formation, solar system and planet formation, and life before the fall. Or maybe Kokaubeam really does signifies the firmament. Should we doubt hydrogen really does convert to helium? Of should we accept the Sun reckons its light from Kolob? The Book of Mormon makes it clear as much as the Book of Abraham makes it clear. Are you hitching your wagon to that?

  15. whizzbang
    July 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Love the part about priesthood blessings! I don’t know what to make of it. If someone is healed then it’s God’s will they are healed, but if not then it’s not God’s will, the recipient doesn’t have enough faith or the priesthood bearer has no faith or little or something. Then I heard that if you are getting a blessing God will honour the blessing regardless of the person giving the blessing-so what is the point of being worthy then? If God doesn’t honour the blessing due to your or the giver of the blessing then you can be believing a lie and Elder Scott told everyone to write out blessings so you can in essence be believing something, a promise that God will never honour

    • Jared Madden
      July 10, 2014 at 9:53 am

      This issue is a simple matter of statistics. If every priesthood blessing given says the person will be healed then some of them are going to fail by chance alone. You can’t cry foul when chance happens.

  16. J
    July 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Stake President Leaun Otten = Pawn?
    Ne4 Pe4

  17. Don Brimhall
    July 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks so much for your story and sharing it. The Tangled movie reference was spot on. Though still difficult and challenging, being of the world is much better when we can be who we really are. To love and live minus the thinking we are more special than those who are not in the church. What a concept.

  18. Weezer
    July 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    The 3rd part of this interview, I would like a deeper dive.

  19. Sherry
    July 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    John – IMHO this is your BEST PODCAST EVER!!!!! Christine Jeppsen Clark, I am 60 and can almost 100% relate to everything you’ve shared. Your words have resonated deep into my core. Oh how I wish you lived near me so we could talk, talk, talk. Even many of the phrases you use, I have said also. My “eyes were opened” when I divorced Mr. Righteous Mormon Man after nine children and 29 years of temple marriage. Then I went to college and later married a NOMO. All my life I have loved to learn – I love your analogy of wanting a “syllabus” for life. Birth control (lack of) was a huge part of the sexual abuse my X did to me, using the temple as his justification. In my deepest heart I feel so cheated that the best years of my life were spent raising children, being all that you were too, when I wanted to keep learning. Guilt was woven into my being, for everything I did or didn’t do as a mother/wife – that was my sole identity in life. I cringe now when I think of how judgemental I was over the years. Thank you for sharing your transition out of MOrmonism. Are you still a member? Three of my kids had their names removed, three are not active at all, two still attend (one is TBM and the other is liberal, thoughtful and questioning) and my youngest is 17 – for now she’s in the church bur I suspect she’ll make different choices later. John Dehlin, this podcast series is a breath of fresh air for me personally because I can relate so well. So much of what I was taught damaged me later in life. I tried so damn hard to be a righteous “mother in zion” doing the things Christine did too. Guilt and fear ruled my life but I kept them carefully hidden. Not to mention the hideous abuse X heaped upon me that was ignored by p-hood leaders for deacdes. I’m still searching my way forward, no longer am active in the church. I am however, close to all my children no matter their beliefs. My NOMO husband is 100 times a better man then my x ever could be. THANK you BOTH from the bottom of my heart…..sending many blessings to you 🙂

    • July 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Glad you are having some happiness now. I was not a Mormon, but was influenced by my Mormon relatives and, interestingly enough, the “feminist” Mormon young women my uncle was dating (while at BYU). I was incredulous at the stereotyped vision of “the perfect wife”, and learned a great deal from those Mormon women who were troubled by the script for their lives created (even then), by old white men. It was these young Mormon women who awakened me to feminism while still in high school. I too love learning… even to this day it is my biggest thrill. I did not have children because I was 1) never terribly interested in being a full time mother, 2) more interested graduate school and a full time career, and 3) never had any successful role models of working mothers. I wish you the best!

    • tropical animal
      July 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      A powerful paragraph. Brought tears. Love.

    • tropical animal
      July 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Sherry, your from-the-heart paragraph was overwhelming. My comment below was to you but somehow got misplaced. Love.

  20. Haika
    July 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I have a small point to make. I also graduated high school in 1971, from a high school in a working class suburb of Los Angeles. Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school at all until my junior year when there was a small change where girls could wear pants only if it rained. In my senior year, the district dress code changed to allow girls of all ages to wear pants to school. Therefore, that Ms. Jeppsen Clark was not allowed to wear pants to school through all of high school was not specific to Utah, it was pretty much all over. It was right about then that things started changing for girls very fast, with the passage of Title IX a year later.

    • July 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Fascinating! Thank you for the info, Haika!!!

    • JB
      July 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm


      That was my experience too in Sacramento, California. In 1970, I was in Jr High and we could only wear pants on Fridays. The rules changed the next year.

  21. Joe
    July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    @ Christine

    Wow. Just wow! I can only hope to one day have a partner who is as articulate, sharp, and charming as you. You are a breath of fresh air, and you give me hope.

    @ John D

    As always, terrific podcast. Thank you.

    • Joe
      July 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      @ Christine

      I finished the final episode, which was incredibly insightful. Maybe you can offer some insights.

      I love my wife. I would love to salvage my marriage. However, my faith crisis has just about ruined it. My wife refuses to look at any evidence or history. I am willing to comprimize. I will support her with attendance. But I just want her to understand where I am at. She refuses.

      Is their any hope for my marriage? Will my wife ever open up her mind? Can you offer any insights or hope? Is their anyway to convince her to open up her mind?

      • Steve
        July 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

        Joe, I’m not Christine, but here’s what little advice I can offer:

        Just be the best person you can be. Love your wife with all your heart, accept her for who she is, and don’t try to change her. If you do this, just being yourself will cause her to have some cognitive dissonance. People are taught all the time in church (especially this year) that people who leave the church lose all of the light in their lives and become dark, bitter, angry people. You might be amazed at how pushing back against that stereotype will open someone’s eyes. They’ll hear all of this nasty stuff about people like you at church, but it won’t compute because they’ll know what a wonderful person you are. Then if by some chance they get the courage to push back against the stereotype at church and reap the hailstorm that will surely come from fellow ward members, it might cause them some deep reflection and possibly an opening.

        • Jess
          July 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

          I’m also not Christine but I admire your resonance with her, Joe. I resonate to her as well. I’d also add that we all change over time. If you can continue loving the changing person your wife will become she will feel your devotion to her and reciprocate. I listening to the interview I would guess Christine and her husband have experienced this. It really is quite remarkable.

      • JohnnyD
        July 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

        I have recently left the church with my beautiful spouse joining me. We have both held many church callings including bishopric for me and stake young women president for my wife. One of the key things that changed her view and mine as well was a couple of books that i am sure you are aware of. Rough Stone Rolling and In Sacred Loneliness. Both are written by members so it is not on the anti list which helped in getting my wife to read. These books planted the seed as Alma put it and allowed for some dialog. Very guarded difficult discussions early on mind you but discussions nonetheless. The abuse of young women was the final nail for me and my wife. Patience my friend.

        • Joe
          July 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

          @ Johnny

          At one point, my wife told me she would read one book. I purchased her In Sacred Loneliness. She reneged. She then made it clear that she doesn’t want to know if TSCC is not true. And she made it clear that she picks TSCC over me.

          I love her. I tried doing the NOM thing, but it didn’t work out. It is too hard attending a Mormon Church once you see it for what it is.

  22. maddy
    July 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks John and Christine for sharing this story. It underscores so many of the same issues (man-made) which trouble me. For example, when God answers our prayers with a positive outcome, the prayer was successful and is often shared in church meetings. But when the outcome isn’t positive, oh well, God had something “greater” in mind. It is hard for me to accept a God that can stand by as 1.5 million children are killed in the Holocaust (oh, but they’re in a better place now) while Sis Brown’s prayers are answered as she finds her pearl ring. I remember when Pres. Hinckley was interviewed by Larry King and asked a question about inspiration and Pres. Hinckley just mentioned receiving answers through prayer. Though I really didn’t expect him to say anything different, the thought crossed my mind–Pres. Hinckley uses the same fallible method the rest of us use.

    Another, leaders who blindly follow those above them, because if there is a mistake, they won’t be held accountable for following their leaders (which is precisely what I’ve heard from leaders) Holy cow, does Mountain Meadow Massacre ring a bell? How does one know whether they were “called” to a position to right a wrong, correct a disastrous course set by higher ups?

    Lastly, knowledge should inform all our choices and even when/if we use prayer, it should be used in conjunction with knowledge we’ve gained in the secular world. The internet is a fantastic tool we have today but it is only as good as the high standards we put on the quality of research we rely on, being aware of confirmation bias etc.

    As a woman, the Church’s support of the Hobby Lobby case adds tremendously to the things I’ve set on the “shelf,” now near the breaking point.

  23. July 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I was trying to find information about Mrs. Utah, and Mrs. America. The Mrs. America contest has not been around since the early 1960’s. Anyone know how to find out more information about Mrs. Alice Beaner (Beener)… the neighbor who excelled in the ironing competition.

    I was in junior high in 1968-1970. We had casual day Fridays… occasionally, and on those days ONLY, we could wear pants. That changed when I went to high school in the fall of 1970 (San Diego, CA).

    Well into my 50’s now, I still suffer from the cognitive dissonance created by growing up in the sexist, “Beever Cleaver” 50’s-60’s, but awakened by feminism in the late 70’s.

    • Worn again Mormon
      July 9, 2014 at 2:29 am

      Debbie — I was in high school, not far from Christine’s school the year Alice Buehner won the Mrs Utah pageant (1965 — I remembered the spelling of her name and just checked Wikipedia). There was huge pressure for young women to conform to the impossible ideals of Mormonism mingled with beauty pageants back then.

      As ‘luck’ would have it I later married the son of another Mrs. Utah (who reigned before Alice) and while I’m not at liberty to reveal her name or mine, that family also includes more than one storied member of Mormon Royalty. So I totally relate to everything Christine described — excruciating, impossible standards of perfection.

      And for what it’s worth, I believe today’s young Mormon feminists have it much easier, by comparison, than we did during the 50’s-70’s. The movie Stepford Wives rings painfully true to that era, but for Mormon women it was even worse than in the movie.

    • Shan
      July 9, 2014 at 9:08 am
  24. July 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Part III: Christine’s grandfather. Of course he thought “if this is God’s will, I don’t want anything to do with “him.” It made me cry thinking of him, and his parents.

    Still listening. Part three has really made an impression on me more than 1 and 2 and those two parts affected my dreams last night.

  25. July 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Every time I think John will never top the podcast he just produced (Sandra Tanner, etc.) I get sucked into another and find it FASCINATING!!

    I can’t explain why they’re so gripping. Is it so many years of deep commitment with no one to talk to, only to find out all these years later that other people were going through the very same things and thinking the very same thoughts as I was?

    Christine’s interviews took me back to when Stephen Covey was our Regional Rep, Jon Huntsman our high councilman, Cecil Samuelson our Stake President, Spencer Kimball our Prophet, and Paul Dunn the most popular General Authority. Such heady days. We thought we were setting the example for all the world to see about how virtuous, industrious, and inspiring a people could be–and how much joy it brought.

    To hear Christine’s patriarchal blessing, filled with so much belief in the mission, and her dad thinking he was speaking the very words of Jesus through him… I remember those heady days, so thrilling.

    How unexpected to have it start to unravel like this in the most unexpected way. I thought people would fall away due to their unrighteousness, not that the righteous be driven from the church due to its unsavory past & present.

    • Sherry
      July 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      We must be close to th4e same age because I remember those men too.

  26. Don
    July 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Thank you Christine and John for your openness. I also appreciate all of the family support that stands behind you.

    “Follow the Brethren” is the top & bottom line and the everywhere in-between of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is all well and good when there is evidence to back up the belief they are the mouthpiece for Christ. When there is not that evidence all we are left with is a resounding WHY?!

  27. July 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Man, did I get lucky as a convert! I joined the Church in college, surrounded by intellectual liberal Mormons. When I’d hear things about not using birth control or having to stay home with kids, etc., enough people around me would say to pray about it and do what I felt is right for *me*. (And that’s what I’ve done unabashedly ever since!)

    I must say that as someone who grows her faith, in part, with science and intellectual reasoning I didn’t like the comments in this podcast about how the Church must not want women to get educated. I’m calling that one out: BOGUS DUDE.

    • Jared Madden
      July 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      @ Monique

      I agree. Both of my parents are converts from the middle 70s, die hard Republicans, and TBM, but all three of my sisters were still encouraged to get an education. Personally, I never remember hearing that women shouldn’t get an education. If anything, Mormons are over the top when it comes to wanting people to get educated.

    • DP
      July 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Bogus in the sense that the church does teach and encourage women to be educated. However, the challenge comes in that women were highly discouraged back then to be professionals and use their education… and that is the difference. Education has always been encouraged… working and being a professional has mostly been discouraged for a woman raising children, which is the “highest and holiest service.”

      No wonder most women in the Church have felt that their education is only valuable insofar as it makes them better mothers and fill the measure of their creation as mothers. No wonder men and women in the Church have given a double take when young women would seek a degree in something professional, like science, law, or medicine. The question has been, “aren’t you planning to be a mother?” The assumption is that if you study something like that then you don’t value motherhood and you only care about the vain things of the world like money or prestige.

      So I think it is a bit more complex and I think Christine’s experience is authentic. The pressure was huge in those decades for women to study something like music or early childhood education. I think that pressure is still there today, but not as strong and that is changing and will continue to change the more professional and graduate school women we have in the church.

      I agree with others here too that John Dehlin tends to polarize the issue and make things into a false dichotomy. Either the church is true or it is false. Either the brethren are inspired or not at all. I think religion, truth, and people are much more complex.

      That being said, I highly appreciate that these stories are being told and that these perspectives are being raised. It is vitally important for us all to hear them. I myself struggle deeply with the other either/or mindset held by those obedient 100% without question.

      • Zack T.
        July 20, 2014 at 8:58 am


        Thanks for your wisdom. All who comment here need to hear the importance of intellectual maturity, lacking in many of these discussions, but not all, on both sides.

      • July 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

        > No trace in either John or Christine of the deeper sophistication
        > one finds in Fowler stage 5 Mormons like Richard Bushman

        When I taught High Priests quorum, I sometimes read passages from Rough Stone Rolling that shed interesting historical insight, but our High Priests Group Leader–who was a returned Mission President and twice a Bishop–said he felt a dark spirit reading the book.

        I’m surprised by how many strong, faithful Latter Day Saints say their faith crisis began with Rough Stone Rolling.

        • John Dwyer
          July 25, 2014 at 3:27 pm

          >I’m surprised by how many strong, faithful Latter Day Saints say >their faith crisis began with Rough Stone Rolling.

          I think it’s great that Rough Stone Rolling is out there (at the BYU bookstore and Deseret Book no less!)

          My kids will be more informed because of growing up with the book, and if they remain in the Church will not have that feeling that they were “deceived” when confronted with complexity.

          Less “internet” shock value faith crises as the next generation will be “hardened” to it.

        • Jess
          July 29, 2014 at 6:31 am

          You inspire me with your confession of quoting from ‘Rough Stone Rolling’ in HP lessons, Chris. I’m always trying to poison the well of our collective complacency in my group with interesting, relevant insights. It’s a pity your group leader felt the need to protect the well. How can the promise of Article of Faith #9 possibly bloom if we believe we know everything?

  28. Alison
    July 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Not sure if Christine will be reading these comments or not (I hope so). Just wanted to let her know how much I appreciated her willingness to share this stuff, make herself vulnerable and talk about her life, her dad, the brethren and her faith transition. She is so down to earth and easy to listen to and you get a great sense of her desire to understand some of this as she goes through her life.

    My question for her is this….how did she and her hubby handle sharing some of this information with their adult children who were active and married? Did you share what you were thinking, reading, discovering and your faith transition? How open were they in doing that….did they say nope we don’t want you to talk about the church? We are struggling with this situation right now as we have two adult married children who are very active and are really pulling back. They are afraid – they are getting messaging from extended family that they should not discuss this stuff with us. That they should draw a clear distinct line about church discussions. It’s very painful for us as we have always been very close. We are watching our relationship become more superficial since we can’t discuss anything that bumps into something the church has a stance on (which is almost impossible anymore). Can you share how you did this with your adult kids?


  29. July 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I haven’t listened to everything yet, and I really appreciate her forthrightness and the thoroughness of the story.

    I found parts of it frustrating, that there’s no room for the middle ground. Either the brethren are prophetic and unerring and blindly followed, or they should be dismissed and ignored. Either you have faith in God and ignore science, or you disregard faith and it’s just reason and science.

    I”m not sure that’s what the church should be about. We need to stand on our own two feet, but we also need to be checked by religious leadership. We need science and rationale thought, but we also need religion and faith.

    It’s easy to blindly follow or completely reject, but it’s better and perhaps harder to thoughtfully and prayerfully follow but also to recognize your own power to make your own decisions. I think this is where the church actually wants us to live – at least that’s been my own personal experience.

    I happen to be listening to the portion of the podcast where she’s talking about science.

    • July 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Totally Scott, that part really got to me, too! Ironically, I recently discussed how my understanding of the temple endowment is *enhanced( by science here: http://ohwellmormon.blogspot.com/2014/07/my-take-on-temple.html

    • July 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Totally Scott, that part really got to me, too! Ironically, I recently discussed how my understanding of the temple endowment is *enhanced* by science here: http://ohwellmormon.blogspot.com/2014/07/my-take-on-temple.html

    • Jared Madden
      July 10, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      @ Scott

      I couldn’t agree more. When I hear those comments made, I wonder if they would say the same thing to the Bushmans or the Givens. I’m not sure either one of those couples could be classified as “blindly” obedient.

  30. Bob
    July 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    There are some other books regarding the different types of marriage written by Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee called “The Good Marriage” which talks specifically about why people get married…the companionate marriage…the rescue marriage and others. The restrictions of the old model of marriage are compounded by the restrictions of the Church. Having the means of support for a woman gives her some options she didn’t have before. Wallerstein and Blakeslee wrote other books “Second Chances” and “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce” which show the effect of broken homes and marriages can be very difficult on the security and well being of all the family members, not just the wife who has now opted to change things. Women, who initiate 80% of the divorces in America, do so without the couple ever getting any marital education (not counselling which doesn’t work. It’s interesting too…if a bishop or stake president is taking a long time to decide what to do with the John Dehlin’s in the Church, the longer they take to decide, one might wonder why so? Very interesting to hear about the backstage life of general authorities. Amazing and educational podcast. I’ve learned a lot.

  31. Deven
    July 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I prefer the term, “logistics” or the “order of operation” rather then gospel, the gospel is that of Jesus Christ. Way too much focus on human faults with this podcast. Still waiting for a response from my question on why no focus on Adversary or Agency within podcasts, way to much finger pointing.

    • Deven
      July 9, 2014 at 9:04 am

      After finishing the whole broadcast It seems by your explanation that a lot of what you believed about being LDS was structured on the cultural facade which is a major detriment to the LDS church along the Wasatch front. Its a slippery slope to accept these cultural practices as the gospel. I call it the zoobie effect, which is a whole other podcast topic.

      • David Macfarlane
        July 9, 2014 at 9:35 am

        I have to disagree, Deven. Repeatedly, John and Christine bring the conversation back to a central epistemological question: How can we know that the brethren truly speak the words of God and Christ? That is not cultural, and they site numerous examples that should, in my opinion, fan the flames of that very question. I feel like both J and C arrive at the conclusion that, if you feel like the church is your spiritual and cultural home, that’s perfectly fine. But that is not the premise on which the brethren lead or on which Joseph Smith founded the church. We have been told time and time again that the Book of Mormon is an accurate historical record; that the church and gospel are unchanging; that the brethren act with absolute authority from God. The facts support none of those claims.

        • Deven
          July 10, 2014 at 11:31 am

          yes that was the question posed but the examples given were a good part based on Mormon cultural nuances not necessarily established as church doctrine. Look I didn’t drink caffeine growing up because my mom gave us that rule at home growing up, as an adult I do. I’m not blaming the church for that I blame the culture influencing my parents at that time. We must be wise enough to distinguish between the two, both powerful influences on belief.

          As far as what the facts show they show we should all be agnostic because at the end of the day all the information we have in one form or at one time or another is contradictory, we as humans get to decide what the cumulative result means. I choose faith to fill that void.

  32. David Macfarlane
    July 8, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I am only through hour two, but my experience mimics almost exactly what John says here: “You’ve got to get them committed young. You’ve got to keep them in the bubble during those educational years so that they can marry in the temple, make those covenants, start having kids … and, in a sense, you kind of lock them in to commitment before they have a chance to discover what’s outside of the bubble, to think, to think for themselves, to learn information …” This is spot on. When I left the mission field, my mission president told me my next task was to marry and start a family. I think he meant as soon as physically possible.

    “…if we have not the truth it ought to be harmed.” How the hell would a lay member, or perhaps even a general authority, ever figure out what the truth is if they don’t know what the alternatives are?

  33. July 8, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    What a great interview! I also went to skyline high school and went on my mission to Uruguay.
    What incredible courage! I would do almost anything to have parents like you! The ability to change paradigms as an audult is incredible! Thank you so much!

  34. July 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    So many thoughts. I really identify with Christine so much, I converted in grad school, but I too have a “monkey brain” and really like the syllabus paradigm. Tell me what I need to do to show you I’m best… Now I write syllabi.

    Anyway, very awesome interview. It’s so interesting to hear about being a child of a very obedient GA. it is interesting to me, that perfection is defined as obedience. I don’t think that has changed. There really is no hope or help for those of us with busy, considering minds.

    John. I’m not sure what’s next for you, but for whatever reason, I feel compelled to give you a virtual hug.

  35. Bob
    July 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve been listening to more of this podcast…it’s like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. What the Church has done and is doing is so incredibly similar to what the Nazi’s were doing with all their propaganda to influence the citizens of Germany to follow their plans to take over the world…which is exactly what the Church wants to do.

    The circular reasoning…the devotion to the empire, obedience no matter what…the pressure to follow… the fanatical level of dedication and complete indoctrination.

    The internet has clearly leveled the playing field. The Church can no longer pretend and hide as the members are now capable to “share notes” about their experiences.

    The idea of a Stake President holding a disciplinary court every week…I had no idea.

    The secrecy around the Church…it’s activities leads me to believe that the reason the Church doesn’t want “transparency” is because they no doubt have something to hide.

    I think they ought to put the Church on lockdown while someone goes through their vaults and examines everything before the Church can destroy an incriminating evidence. Just as they tried to buy the Mark Hoffman documents, they had no intention to displaying the artifacts. Just as they don’t display the rock Joseph used to “translate” the Book of Mormon. If the stone was so critical, wouldn’t they have it for people to see?

    You can always tell about someone’s true beliefs by what they do. That a Dallin Oakes says for members never being critical of the leaders is telling. The expectation for the members to follow willingly like sheep is also telling. People who are honest and forthright don’t have secret police…spying on their members…and using the threat of excommunication to keep their members in line.

    Again John, thanks for your efforts. Kate Kelly represented a change in theology and recruiting people to follow her.

    What you represent is bringing to light information and real experience. The leaders must dread waking up with each new podcast revealing more and more of what’s really going on. Their power is in being the guardians of the flame. When people look at them and discover they’re no better than me, or even worse for misleading us, we’re not as much in a hurry to follow their lead.

  36. Pete
    July 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Good interview. I enjoyed it. I am aware of the issues, have read the books both faithful and otherwise and like most here can see the view point of the tbm and those who have left. Even though i am far from a tbm these days i still attend. I admit part of it is because i know it will crush my extended family but i genuinely enjoy the social aspect and many of the members.

    In your ballanced efforts do you have anyone that is making it work? Anyone that is saying “yeah, i am not going to contribute 10% , support the extreme conservative views, send my kids off to preach 1/2 truths etc. Etc. And having it work for them? Does this model exist somewhere and is working or am i setting myself up for disappointment? If you have someone on your interview list like that it would be great to hear from them.

    I fear i am only delaying the inevitable.

    • July 8, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Pete, my ward is thriving in the San Francisco Bay Area where most are shrinking, and I know about 20 people in it who don’t believe but don’t tell their spouses or children, they hold callings, do baptisms, etc. Most of them are happy.

      They simply say they can’t be locked out of the temple for their children’s weddings and they can’t crush their families. And most of them like the youth programs, values, social life, etc.

      They don’t deep end on church history like I do because they don’t want to know. They already have a sense. They don’t feel good about the temple interviews but have found a way to answer the questions so they don’t feel terrible.

      Far as I know, I’m the only one in my ward who couldn’t do it anymore because my conscience got to me. And that is why they will talk to me when they won’t even talk to their spouses. I used to be their Bishop and they didn’t mention their troubles with faith to me then.

    • T
      July 9, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Pete, I am in a Spanish ward and most of the people in my ward are converts. They don’t really care about church history. They like the church’s emphasis on family and clean living. I still go to church for my husband and his family but none of my kids (all adults) are active. I stay away from Sunday School and Relief Society by helping in the primary. No one brings up politics in our ward, which is a refreshing change from the English wards. I don’t have a temple recommend (because I don’t want one) but many people in our ward also don’t have a TR (usually because of issues with tithing).

      Our ward is held together by a common language, friendship and fun, clean activities. Deep doctrinal discussions are discouraged and support for one another (by attending ward activities) is highly encouraged. I imagine many wards outside of Utah and especially outside of the USA are like this. It’s more like the early days of the church when the members were trying to build Zion.

      I suppose you could say that I no longer believe in the truth claims of the Mormon Church but I know my Ward is true. 🙂

      • Pete
        July 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

        Thanks. I truly hope this “middle road” works for me. MT is pretty orthodox and conservative.

    • Lilli
      July 14, 2014 at 8:30 am


      I left about a year ago and while it is hard on my children, who are mostly young adults, they are slowly processing it and accepting it and realizing things are not right in the Church and someday they will have the courage to face the truth too.

      If I had stayed in and go along quietly then my children would probably never had questioned things either. I believe we have an obligation to stand for right, even though it may upset family for awhile. Christ said he came to divide families, not bring peace, for he knew that those who accept his Gospel would upset their families and create divisions.

      The podcast only confirms more that belief I have that church leaders try to only all ‘yes men’ to high callings, so we never get truly righteous men who are willing to stand for truth, but who will go along with anything because they pridefully just want to be accepted, like and praised, no matter the cost.

      I believe all members today know deep down that the Church is not true and that the leaders are corrupt and not following Christ. It’s just too apparent in what they do, like not helping the poor more with the tithing and living high off the hog on the widows mite and supporting past and present polygamy in the church (serial polygamy today) and supporting other things contrary to Christ like divorce and remarriage, etc.

      But it seems most members don’t come to church to follow Christ but instead to be part of a social club and be accepted and to look good, so they don’t really care that the church isn’t following Christ or that the fatherless are being neglected and ignored.

      I don’t attend any church today, I study and follow Christ on my own, just like people in Christ’s day did. They met in homes with family and friends of like mind, they did’nt attend ‘a church’ on Sunday.

      I have studied church history and I now understand why I never had faith or like Brigham Young, I believe he was worse then Warren Jeffs and just made up all the temple stuff to try to give legitimacy to his whoredoms. But few want to know the truth, they seem afraid of the truth, for then it would make them feel they have to change, stop supporting evil and repent.

      I don’t believe Joseph was a prophet anymore, he was probably a good man who was innocent of polygamy as he declared, but a true prophet would not have translated the Book of Mormon with all it’s falsehoods, nor would a true prophet have done what prophets did in the BoM, nor would true prophets had compiled such stories in the BoM either, they would have left them out. So the BoM proves false to me, even though it does teach some good things. The D&C proves false also in many places, for it teaches contrary to Christ.

      There was no reason for Joseph to restore anything, for nothing had been lost. The Gospel and Priesthood of Jesus Christ was never lost, it has always been on the earth since Christ’s day, for all to read, study and follow if they wanted. So the fact that Joseph tried to start a church with exclusive Priesthood, etc, proves he was a false prophet, for anyone can gain the Priesthood, male or female, as long as they gain Charity, which is what the Priesthood is anyway.

      And according to Christ, true prophets would have charity, and no prophet or church leader I have every known of had true charity, certainly none from Brigham Young to today.

      True prophets would not support of believe in things like polygamy and the inequality and submission of women, or divorce & remarriage, using tithing for buildings, churches or paid ministry, or neglect the poor & fatherless (which Christ said is the main reason for religio), etc.

      I have found much more light and knowledge and Spirit now that I have left the dark oppressiveness of the Church and it’s false prophets and it’s vile teachings and practices.

      It’s so sad to see the Church teach and depress people with the idea that only righteous or active or member families who have been sealed in the temple will be eternal. When the truth is all families and 1st marriages are eternal no matter if they are righteous or not.

  37. James
    July 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Great podcast John and Christine!

    I think it’s cool that Christine is doing her PhD work in dementia. Several dance teachers I’ve had have said dancing helps slow the onset. Maybe her and Benji could hook up and compare notes.

    I don’t really get LDS culture, even though I been somewhat in it for a long time. I can see how freeing it can be to be not tied up in it. My dad was always in leadership positions too and very authoritarian.

  38. Missouri
    July 8, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Re: Part 4 discussion, BKP says we should approach priesthood blessings as “thy will be done.” Sooo…why even pray to begin with (vs meditation)? Seems there really is no need to burden God with requests. Makes the most sense to just give thanks and take what comes. Mindfulness wins.

  39. BDH
    July 8, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I really enjoyed getting acquainted with Christine Jeppsen Clark. I am about her age, and when she related the birth control issue, I wanted to jump into the interview and talk with her. Yes, in fact, a few years prior, I believe the message in the Bishop’s handbook was stronger. I had my first child in 1977. When discussing birth control, an active topic back then, our bishop read from the manual, and there was no doubt that preventing children through artificial means was a sin. I left a great job to be a full time mother, and my dear husband supported us on less than minimum wage. I was thrilled to have a child, but could not handle another right away. I still remember sitting on my obgyn’s examining table, at my 6 week exam after delivering, telling my Dr. that my church would not allow any forms of birth control. He was astounded, so, draped in the little robe, I called our bishop (he worked for the same company I left- he had a great job), and asked if I had ANY options. He once again stated what was in the manual, and reminded me that it came from the First Presidency, which meant it came from The Lord. My Dr. acquiesced, I went home angry and frustrated, and told my husband that we would not have relations until we were prepared to bring another child into our family. A year or so later, I ‘heard’ The Lord tell me it was time. Nine months after that, we had a brother for our daughter.
    NO church should dictate such a personal and private decision, but I was a fairly new and naive convert, and I believed they were inspired. So, our relationship suffered as a result.
    The current generation has received no such dictates— they act shocked that our leaders interfered in our lives like that.

  40. Missouri
    July 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Miraculous stories of God saving prayerful people during natural disasters, overshadow all the prayers He ignored.

  41. Matt J
    July 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Awesome!!! Loved it. This is one of my favs now. Good work

  42. David
    July 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    The discussion of the Willie and Martin handcart companies along with the Hodgett wagon train seems to assume that if they all had simply heeded Levi Savage rather than following Captain James Willie all would have been well.

    In my study of this epic struggle I believe the situation was more complex than that. The problems for this group started with the fact that they were the poorest of the poor. They had precious little resources to begin with and had no means to recover from the many delays that came their way. The schedule problems started in England and got worse the entire way.

    A number of historians have concluded that by the time they reached Florence the group was ill equipped to either go forward or remain in Florence. They were in trouble either way. There were only about 100 people living in Florence at the time. There probably wasn’t going to be enough food, fuel, shelter or employment in the area to support them through a harsh Nebraska winter. There was enough for some of them…but not all of them. In fact it is likely that the loss of life would have been even higher if they had all stayed.

    An additional fact missing from this discussion is that the immigrants themselves were anxious to push on and get to the Salt Lake valley. This is independent of anything any of their leaders had to say.

    In short, it is likely that the only way to have avoided the tragedy would have been to have never left England that year in the first place.

    • Jared Madden
      July 10, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you, David. I did not know those details before. It’s nice to get both sides of the story.

      • Pete
        July 10, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        I haven’t studied it and i am sure there would have been consequences for staying as well but it is a tough sell to convince me that staying and using 8 weeks to build shelter and prepare for winter wouldn’t have produced better results.

        • David
          July 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

          The food problem by itself would have been a disaster. By the time they got to Florence it was too late to plant, grow and harvest any crops. Additionally the harvest that year from the locals was poor. Food was thus already in low supply. The area simply didn’t have the food resources to support an additional 1500 immigrants. If you want to see how that works out for an entire winter look at the Jamestown “Starving Times”. Only 60 of 500 colonists survived that winter (1609-1610). Evidence of cannibalism was recently discovered.

          Levi Savage was right about the trials of continuing on but there never was a choice for all to stay in Florence.

  43. Lance
    July 9, 2014 at 12:55 am

    When you discussed the framing of authority and started with the Martin Willie Handcart Co., I was a little overjoyed. My first reading of the journals from the Martin Willie Co. was one of the first (of many) moments where I really saw for the first time this conflict between authority, promises (prophesy), and reality. Levi Savage became an instant hero to me for his willingness to go forward. Its possible he did it out of duty or obedience, but I sense he felt the need to support the people. He knew they were going to be in trouble before they even left, and he went anyway. But another individual that also kept an account was 24 year old John Chislett. He was just as willing to help people, but was more blunt in his observations of the situation and those in authority. The company had already suffered a lot up to this point in September 1856.

    Here is one of his memories of the trek…

    John Chislett’s First Hand Account
    “One evening, as we were camped on the west bank of the North Bluff Fork of the Platte, a grand outfit of carriages and light wagons was driven into our camp from the East. Each vehicle was drawn by four horses or mules, and all the appointments seemed to be first rate. The occupants we soon found to be the apostle F. D. Richards, elders W. H. Kimball, G. D. Grant, Joseph A. Young, C. G. Webb, N. H. Felt, W. C. Dunbar, and others who were returning to Utah from missions abroad. They camped with us for the night, and in the morning a general meeting was called. Apostle Richards addressed us. He had been advised of the opposition brother Savage had made, and he rebuked him very severely in open meeting for his lack of faith in God. Richards gave us plenty of counsel to be faithful, prayerful, obedient to our leaders, etc., and wound up by prophesying in the name of Israel’s God that ‘though it might storm on our right and on our left, the Lord would keep open our way before us and we should get to Zion in safety.’ This assurance had a telling effect on the people—to them it was ‘the voice of God.’ They gave a loud and hearty ‘Amen,’ while tears of joy ran down their sunburnt cheeks.

    “These brethren told Captain Willie they wanted some fresh meat, and he had our fattest calf killed for them. I am ashamed for humanity’s sake to say they took it. While we, four hundred in number, travelling so slowly and so far from home, with our mixed company of men, women, children, aged, sick, and infirm people, had no provisions to spare, had not enough for ourselves, in fact, these ‘elders in Israel,’ these ‘servants of God,’ took from us what we ourselves so greatly needed and went on in style with their splendid outfit, after preaching to us faith, patience, prayerfulness, and obedience to the priesthood. As they rolled out of our camp I could not, as I contrasted our positions and circumstances, help exclaiming to myself: ‘Look on this picture, and on that!’

    From: John Chislett, “Mr. Chislett’s Narrative,” in The Rocky Mountain Saints, T. B. H. Stenhouse (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873), 319

    • Stanton
      July 9, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Thanks for this, Lance. Leadership believing they are smarter and more deserving than ordinary folks sometimes has profound results greater than just hubris.

    • Lori
      July 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Oh my. I had known that these “leaders” met up with the handcart company, but I had no idea their entitlement and cruelty in exploiting these poor souls went so far. That account is heartbreaking. I believe this action, among so many other unsavory facts in Mormon history, plainly shows how many Mormon leaders use the membership to satisfy their own lusts for money and power. It reminds me of the quote in the Dec. 2012 Ensign that you should pay tithing even if it means you cannot buy food, clothing, or pay for your shelter and heat. What kind of people do and say these things all while they are paying themselves (I’m sure in their opinion well-deserved, modest living stipends) generous salaries and perks from the very money people suffered to give?

      I simply cannot understand people who would do this. I left the Mormon church more than 2 yrs. ago, but I still struggle with the betrayal of the general leadership and esp. the top 15. Before I learned of all the historical issues, I never would have believed these men were lying and conniving. Never. As I was learning the truth, it began to dawn on me that these men must know the truth as well. The correlation, the words “sometimes the truth isn’t very useful,” the fact they have access to all the original documents but have blocked anyone else clearly demonstrate they know what they are doing. They even intimate and allow many members to believe they speak to God, at least in a more clear sense than the lowly member does. When I saw Mr. Holland lie to the British reporter, I was finally and fully convinced of their natures. It still blows my mind that they would call upon the name of God to witness their words and deeds. I guess it shows that human beings have wildly effective self-justification skills that allow them to do whatever it takes to get what they want.

      • Jared Madden
        July 11, 2014 at 3:49 am

        @ Lori

        As a believer, I admit that this story about Elder Richards is heartbreaking. However, to assume his grave mistake was intentionally lying and deceiving is going too far. I’ve heard many individuals on this podcast admit that they believe the leaders are good men with the best intentions and truly believe they are trying to do what is right. Assuming Elder Richards did not believe what he said (that they would arrive safely while it snowed all around them) is quite a leap.

        We have to be careful when we claim to know the mind of someone else (especially when they’re not even alive anymore).

      • Lilli
        July 14, 2014 at 8:49 am


        I agree, the top church leaders have to know the Church isn’t true and that Brigham and the early leaders were the vilest of men, and that they all are just deceiving the members.

        In fact, the leaders, from Bishop on up, are supporting, preaching and practicing such vile evil, past and present, that I believe all members know deep down that the Church isn’t true, but they don’t care, for they want to be part of the social club and look good, rather then really follow Christ.

    • David
      July 12, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      John Chislett had been ex-communicated by the time this was published. He was quite bitter about it.

    • Lance
      July 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Just for reference and a very tragic read, here are the day to day journal accounts of the Willie Handcart Co. The suffering was much worse than I ever imagined. Be sure to click VIEW ALL so each entry for the specific day appears.


  44. Haika
    July 9, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I am a never Mormon whose son converted in college and just got married in the temple where his father and I were not welcomed. I’ve been reading Mormon information on the internet for a few years now and listened to lots and lots of Mormon Stories. If my son would ever allowed me to suggest to him ONE no-longer-Mormon story, this would be the one, hands down.

    • Joe
      July 9, 2014 at 10:22 am

      @ Haika

      Your story is one which haunts me. People I love were not allowed to attend my wedding because I married in a Mormon Temple. I wish I could go back and talk to myself as a kid… to tell him about the pain he was inflicting on people he loves. I am so sorry this happened to you as well.

      • Haika
        July 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        Don’t beat yourself up. We live and learn. The good news is that the girl is wonderful and loves us like her own, and we her. Who knows what the future will bring. Perhaps they too someday will see the light.

  45. Jon
    July 9, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Listened to this episode, very interesting! I still maintain that one thing I notice amongst all of you is a lack of personal responsibility. Take Mrs. Clark for example. She does allude, though barely glancing over it, on the possibility she could have done what other LDS women were doing during her college years and majored in something of her choice, and she does mention her father left it open to her to study whatever she wanted, yet in retrospect she chooses to blame her father, the patriarchal nature in her home. As a general note, most parents (LDS and non-LDS) try their best. Lets say her dad was Buddhist instead of LDS, or Chinese instead of American. Her experience might not have been too different. Fathers being a dominant figure in the home, community etc is an almost universal human experience, with the exception of actual matriarchal societies.

    Her views on marriage: Again, more personal responsibility. The book she mentions that she read, and her comment about the man goes to work, the woman is just there for sex etc., I have to admit that was almost comical. I hope for her sake her husband treats her in a manner that doesn’t make her feel she’s just there for sex, but that sounds like a personal problem, something between her and her own husband, it really is her own view.

    “Following the brethren…don’t question…” That’s something she needs to know how to process on a personal level.

    “Do the brethren really know the mind of God?” – does it warrant blind obedience? – There are probably people who blindly follow (I personally don’t recommend it, but it probably happens). This is a theme that I think you sensationalize to justify your problems, I notice Mrs. Clark does the same thing. How do you know it’s just blind obedience? While I admit to knowing a few members who just might be going along blindly, I can say the vast majority of LDS family, friends that I know personally all have questions as I can’t count the many discussion, both in formal settings in church, and informally as friends shooting the breeze where we’ve discussed most any gospel topic you can think of. As I listened to Mrs. Clark’s interviews, it confirms (sadly) my own stereotypical view of the Utah Mormon culture (I’m not from Utah) where people like Mrs. Clark much later in life are becoming sort of late bloomers, but in a backwards kind of way. I am an active LDS, I did see the bubble when I came to Utah, and the blind obedience is something that I notice is a Utah Mormon paradigm, whereas those of us who had the challenge of growing up in societies/communities where you’re the weirdo as a small minority, I can assure you blind obedience is not a very good coping tool, matter of fact, you won’t survive long with blind obedience. I can see though how in the Utah Mormon culture stretching back to the pioneer heritage how the bubble lulls you to a sense of blind obedience, where when the safety of the bubble bursts, even the most petty of grievances which I think Mrs Clark’s and your grievances are, then are blown out of proportion the way you, Kate, and now her are doing.

    Interesting episode, Mrs Clark and your view that the brethren make mistakes is something known to many of us, and yes, do we follow them still is the great burden, and, I suppose you guys have chosen to pick and choose when and when not to follow. I would caution against labelling a willingness to follow regardless as “blind obedience.” That is false, and if you didn’t know it previously, I’m telling you now you are lying. If my experience is similar to the millions of faithful LDS, I can assure you it’s not blind obedience, we ALL have questions, we just have faith that with the brethren’s human nature, the flaws of human nature, the Lord will guide, counsel, correct. I agree it’s a lot to ask, but stop lying to people about the members’ blind obedience. There may be some that do, but most any LDS I know are not blind followers, they read, they study, they ask.

    General comment on not knowing people have left: something else you guys sensationalize. People who saw visions along with Joseph Smith like Sidney Rigdon, the three witnesses etc., left the church. Over the history of the church, higher level general authorities have left the church. You know, each person (and maybe the church needs to do a better job of teaching this), is eventually individually responsible for their own faith/salvation etc.

    The dichotomy you identify is spot on regarding whether they are prophets, seers, revelators or not? Joseph Smith is either a prophet, or he’s the biggest fraud ever, that is the question everyone has to settle for themselves. Where we part ways is where you and Mrs Clark start to say we need to test it against science, logic etc ONLY (I mean how do you test the burning bush Moses saw against that). I don’t necessarily disagree with using ones learning in science, logic etc, but faith must always be a part of the process. This is where apostasy creeps in, when you justify discarding faith and prayer in the process. Some of the most profound discussions I’ve ever had were with a branch president that is a zoology professor, a scientist!

    • mark
      July 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm


      “Where we part ways is where you and Mrs Clark start to say we need to test it against science, logic etc ONLY (I mean how do you test the burning bush Moses saw against that). I don’t necessarily disagree with using ones learning in science, logic etc, but faith must always be a part of the process. This is where apostasy creeps in, when you justify discarding faith and prayer in the process.”

      This is where I notice a lot of members miss the mark. This idea that faith is somehow lacking and that is what leads to apostasy. The reality is leaving the church requires a lot of faith. I would even say it requires more than staying in the church.

      I’ll give you an example. I was conditioned to pay tithing since as early as I can remember. I paid tithing on birthday money, my mission allowance, and ever since I had a job as a paperboy starting at 10 years old. I never questioned the law of tithing. I just knew I had to do it and it was easy for me. I never missed for the 30+ years I was a member.

      When I left the church and stopped paying tithing, that required more faith than anything tithing related I had paid previously. Why? Because I had been conditioned my entire life that people that don’t pay tithing are missing out on blessings from the Lord. I struggled with the idea of missing out on blessings. It wasn’t until I exercised faith in my new understanding of God and stopped paying tithing that I realized the teachings of the Mormon church with regards to tithing were completely wrong. I say that again, I exercised faith in stop paying tithing. Faith that God wouldn’t punish me. Faith in God that I wouldn’t lose my house. Faith in God that I wouldn’t lose my job. The windows of heaven were not closed on me simply because I stopped paying tithing.

      The same thing for taking off my garments. That required more faith. Faith in God that he would not punish me for going against a “covenant” that I previously thought was between me and Him. No punishment was placed on me. But it required a significant amount of faith on my part and my new understanding of God that he would not punish me for something the church clearly taught I should be punished for.

      That is the very definition of faith. Believing in something that is not seen, but which is true. My Faith carried me through those tough early days of questioning the teachings of the church. That requires faith. It just happens to be the opposite of what the church teaches.

      • Jon
        July 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        My comment on advocating an abandoning of faith: that was taken from this particular interview, but my critique of it has to do with the inconsistent nature of the questioning that takes place on this site and by friends of mine who have left—one of them because of this site. For example, a criticism of what a church leader may have said somewhere some time where the person asks, how can that be true, Joseph Smith or whoever can’t possibly be a prophet then. Afterwards, they do a Sandra Tanner and say, but I still believe in the Bible with its burning bush, and its prophets which include a prophet who decapitated a King the Israelites were supposed to kill but left alive and another who turned a staff into a snake, not to mention an earlier talking snake. Are people applying the same personal standards of truth in all cases? That is what I wonder when I’m listening to some of the episodes.

        I’m willing to admit or ask that if I believe in the possibility of a burning bush that wasn’t burning, a God who came in mortal form, died, and resurrected after 3 days and still lives, who when mortal was even visited by Moses and Elijah in some supernatural form as they had been dead for a while prior to that visit—why exactly would it be impossible for me to believe a 14 year old boy in America saw God? Is the difference time? Joseph Smith perhaps just isn’t ancient enough as Moses?

    • Clark
      July 9, 2014 at 6:05 pm


      First off, before addressing Jon, i just wanted to say that i absolutely loved this podcast. Thank you John Dehlin, and Christine Jeppsen Clark for being great role models for greater communication, and facilitators of differing perspectives and experiences.

      Jon, I usually do not comment on the internet, but i have to disagree and express it publicly. Do decisions ultimately come down to us? Yes. Do our parents and peers influence us to make decisions in our young adult life? absolutely. Does the LDS Church influence and encourage certain decisions within their control? undoubtedly and unequivocally yes.
      Lack of personal responsibility? That really has nothing to do with anything, I’m not sure why you bring it up. I would expect you to acknowledge, as you seem to do when you eat your own words of how Christine discussed how she could have made any decision, but that ultimately her Father and the church influenced it greatly. The only point being that The Church, and the way it has affected its culture, (believe it or not in and out of Utah) does bode a large sway on decisions. I think you can agree with that.

      The church does teach parents to obey the prophets and to look up to them as amazing individuals. And trust me its not just the Utah Culture of where this is coming from, it comes strait from the Top 15. The Church wants this ingrained in younger minds, and its occurred.

      “Yet, if our children do not know the names of the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, they most likely will not know their messages either. Others might say there are so many General Authorities that our children cannot know them all. However, our focus must rest with those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators.” – David B. Haight

      “In the future, a discernable distinction of the true followers of Christ will be the heed and attention they give to the living prophets and Apostles. As our children listen to these men, they will find their way….How do we help our children to love the modern prophets and trust in their words? To love the prophets and seek their counsel is more than silently accepting them from a distance. It is different from being attentive to their teaching in only the most general ways.”- L. Tom Perry

      – These all come from an ensign issue one of the first search results for Obedience: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/04/teaching-our-children-to-love-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=obedience+to+the+prophets

      “youth may have an opportunity to meet their Church leaders, which can create a lasting positive impression on a young mind.” ….. Impress on a young mind? in other words get em while they are young, and ingrain this because we really want you to obey.

      If not telling people to blindly follow, they certainly do use scare tactics in almost every talk you hear in conference. i.e ; the world is so scary and evil and thats why its important that you listen to the lords servants cause then you’ll be safe…

      One more thing. you say that John and Christine are picking and choosing what to follow. Ok, you pick and choose what you believe in the Bible, The church picks and chooses which doctrine to disavow (blacks and the Priesthood, adam god, polygamy, temple ceremony). Your zoology professor believes in evolution, which goes against Joseph Smith, and I’m sure you would concede that the world is older than 7000 years old according to the D&C.

      John and Christine are picking and choosing morals, decisions, and conclusions (as we all do) based on their own merits, mind and good will not on the church; something, i expect, you can not say for yourself.

      • Jon
        July 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        Personal responsibility: it’s one thing to say, hey Mormons this or that is just bogus because of carbon dating and that’s why I’m out of here, it’s another to say look Mormon church you ruined my life—yet you’re quite established or accomplished socially, economically, professionally etc., and maybe did most of the establishing and accomplishing while you were a ‘believing’ Mormon.

        What I think of what Christine mentioned on going to college was petty considering many other experiences from those in the Mormon culture that differ from hers. She ought to be glad her dad offered to pay for college at all, many Mormons didn’t and still don’t have this luxury. She should be glad, that even though her dad made BYU the most affordable option, she still had the choice to major in most anything else. Yet, she chooses to portray this whole thing as being suppressed by patriarchy. Really? Your dad offered to pay for something that to this day is still too expensive for most any other Mormon parent. Many Mormons worldwide can only dream of going to a school like BYU, what you complaining about?

        I mention in my comment that the claim that all that’s going on is blind obedience is simply false. It is not indicative of the norm, is contrary to what I think this site tries to portray and I hold this view regardless of whether the claim is made by disaffected Mormon ‘intellectuals’ or critics in general. I can probably accept that Mormons blindly follow, or that the brethren breed it if we were talking about tens, hundreds or even thousands…but a membership of millions worldwide across different countries and languages? I mention almost every LDS I know reads, studies, asks, and if Mormons in other countries are like the ones I know, it makes the blind obedience argument a stretch. Then you factor in the doctors, PhDs/academics, lawyers, scientists who are faithful members worldwide—are they not capable of critical thinking, or can no longer be considered intellectuals because they continue to acknowledge a role for faith in their thought processes? If the typical Mormon was a middle school dropout I can kind of see your point.

        • July 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm


          Look up the appeal to authority logical fallacy. You seem to like other fallacies as well, i.e. hasty generalization, ad hoc, etc.

          It is difficult to have a meaningful discussion when you are considering arguments that are poorly constructed and fallacious.

          Finally, if you are not a woman, you cannot credibly address patriarchy and how it affects your decision making.

    • j
      July 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Speaking from my own experience, it is very painful and unfair for people who are believing members to critique the journey of someone who had walked away from active participation. For me it was by far the scariest decision I ever made, but it was by far the best and most healthy one for me. My husband is still a devout, believing member. I respect him for that. That is the language he speaks in order to understand/commune with God. The Church makes him very happy.
      I recently attended Church with him for several weeks with an open heart. What I observed and felt were a lot of very good people. I also noticed that there is a pervading feeling of judgmental superiority. Some of the comments I heard were ones that I agreed with when I was active, but now, having gained a different perspective from personal experience, I am very ashamed that I thought I knew so much. “You cannot know a man unless you’ve walk a mile in his shoes.” Who am I to question someones faith or lack there of? I can only ever know my own experience. If I really am a disciple of Christ and profess to take his name upon me then it is my duty to love my neighbor as myself. On this hangs all the laws and the prophets. I think that an essential part of loving people is listening to them not preaching to, criticizing, or condemning them.

      • Jared Madden
        July 11, 2014 at 4:14 am

        @ j

        I agree 100%, but the sympathy door needs to swing both ways. If sympathy needs to be shown for those who have left Mormonism (which I believe it does) then sympathy should also be shown for President Packer, Bruce R. McConkie, Elder Oaks, etc.

        • July 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm

          Bruce, Dallin, Boyd, et al. are the perpetrators of a fraud, whether knowingly or not. The victims of said fraud deserve sympathy. So I respectfully disagree that the perpetrators deserve anything other than contempt. Geez, especially Boyd.

          • Jared Madden
            July 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

            @ Macejackal

            I appreciate the time you took to respond, but in my opinion presuming to know their intentions shows hubris.

    • Jared Madden
      July 11, 2014 at 4:00 am

      @ Jon

      I grew up outside of Utah too and I agree that blind obedience does not work when Mormonism is the minority in the local society. Blind obedience was never a part of my faith.

      • Pete
        July 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

        I grew up outside Utah in a smal branch and although i dislike the term “blind obedience” , it is probably the closest term to accurately describe the environment. Not saying that is how it is everywhere but i would say in the 5 wards i have been in over my life that mind set has dominated the ward.

  46. BakIrish
    July 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I loved the section, in part four, where Christine talks about her “eyes being opened” to a big wonderful world once she was able to shake the Mormon curtain. She described many of the same feelings and experiences I am going through, I am just not able to voice them as well as she did.

  47. Matthew
    July 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I know quite a number of people in this position. She is very courageous. I’m glad her marriage and relationships with children have survived. There are so many in which that is not the case. What struck me was not just obeying the brethren — I can actually understand that if you believe they are prophets, seers and revelators and you are not or not at that level. But the arbitrariness of decisions at the stake level surely causes one to doubt that stake and bishopric leaders don’t have the phone line to God. The SLC U of U student stake didn’t have one disciplinary council in years. Then they had 300 in a few short years. Did God’s will change all of a sudden and then change back when he left as Stake President? Was the former stake president just a heretic or apostate? The pendulum swings, especially at the lower and local levels evidence something else at work. Anyone with a brain can figure it out. Some leaders are more flexible, softer, not hard ass, more willing to engage in counseling, give multiple chances, focus on forgiveness and others throw the book at you. That’s all that’s going on. And at the local level you likely know all these people and their different temperaments, personalities, proclivities, etc. If it God’s will, then all of it is God’s will. Or God constantly changes God’s mind back and forth. I’ve seen this in my mothers ward and stake which for many decades has waxed and waned from lax to strict among the bishopric, stake presidents. Its so obvious. Some Mormon leaders emphasize compassion and others the rulebook.

    • Stanton
      July 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      It would be interesting to learn how the experience of being ex’ed affected those 300 kids at UofU. If done in love, the process can lead to growth. If down in a spirit of spiritual domination, results may vary dramatically.

  48. Jyjor
    July 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    In part 4 at about 13:45 Christine Jeppsen Clark talks about how the brethren said “there’s this Equal Rights Amendment and it’s going to destroy the family”. Does anybody know why the church would have said something like that?

    • Lilli
      July 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

      The idea of submission of women to men/husbands, destroys families just as much or far more then the Equal Rights Amendment. Women are of course completely equal with men, but I can see why the Church leaders are afraid of that fact, for they don’t want to respect and accept women’s true equality and power in the home, church or society.

      Church leaders prove their pridefullness and disrespect for women and unwillingness to share power when they ex women like Kate Kelly, who are only asking for what is their right and a righteous desire. The problem is Kate Kelly is going to the wrong person for Priesthood power, the Church never had any Priesthood power to begin with, let alone to give men or women today.

      Only God can give Priesthood power and does to all men and women who are truly righteous.

  49. Ray
    July 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    What I am deeply touched with by Christine’s sharing her experiences and observations is the sincerity and eloquent nature of her words. All the respect in the world to you Christine and your family for letting the truth set you free…

  50. Gwyne Taylor
    July 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks John and Christine. I enjoyed every minute of all four podcasts. I love Christine’s joy and enthusiasm.

  51. Kim
    July 9, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Another installment in the library of information available by which we then access as we work out our own salvation…whatever that might mean to us personally. I think that it is important to remember that when we learn and listen from each other, whether it be an Elder Jeppsen or his daughter, or anyone else, we are then left in a place where we then turn this way or that. Faith or unbelief… or somewhere in between. That place can lead us to stay active in the church or to find ourselves outside of its precincts. We can be happy in either place…obviously.

    But that may not be THE point. What may matter is whether we are open to the possibility, that the church holds any necessary keys that it purports to hold. If it does, then the church matters. If it doesn’t, then the church really doesn’t matter. It really all comes down to that, IMO. Does the church, with all of its human nature being acted out on stage, have something “special” going on within its walls? I’m open to that being the case. Not that I KNOW…but I’m open to the possibility. There seems to be a perfect storm of reasons to believe and/or disbelieve in the mission of the LDS church. Flip sides of the coin to choose to have reasonable faith…or not.

    I’ve listened to almost all of the mormon stories podcasts over the years and am acutely aware that the evidences for belief vs. non-belief seem to be somewhat equally balanced on the scale. Belief…through hope and faith…is a choice. As is non-belief through skepticism and/or doubt. I think there is a place in the church for both ways of approaching the world/gospel/church. At times I find myself rather agnostic to all things mormon. At other times I find myself marveling at the wonder of it all. How did Joseph get so much content into his theology that brought many of the world’s upper tier truths compiled into “one great whole”?

    I’m open to God pulling the strings and pushing the LDS church along just as He may be pulling the strings behind the scenes for all the other stuff going on in the world. Other religions, other political systems, philosophies, scientific endeavors/theories, etc. Could it not all be part of one great big matrix/test/program by which human beings are being pushed along to a better place in the breadth and scope of a very large cosmos? Is the CofJCofLDS part of that “program”?

    It’s not improbable. And if it’s possible, one would expect the fingerprints of both man and God scattered all over the place.

    Anyway, good interview. More food for thought. Best wishes to the Jeppsen family in their own journey of faith and/or exploration of this interesting and wonderful world.

    • Jay
      July 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      “More food for thought.”

      Whoa. It sounds like you’ve got plenty to chew on as it is.

    • David Macfarlane
      July 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      “Belief…through hope and faith…is a choice. As is non-belief through skepticism and/or doubt.”

      This may be the most accurate and true (if I can use that word, fraught as it might be in this context) comment anyone has posted here. I am an ex-Mormon because I choose to be. And yet, I also choose to believe in something that has been described by another better than I am able.

      “The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”
      – Carl Sagan

  52. tropical animal
    July 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I agree with you, especially the part about establishing “testimonies” by repetition. Unforunately, “truth” established by repetition and emotional reinforcement, in a climate of emotional arousal is much stronger than facts established by scientific methods. Technically, testimonies are not facts but feelings. The scripture, Mormon or other, provides no valid method for verifying experiences.

    I agree with you too, on how the church is really not based on the
    teachings of the name of the person on their building. His main theme was love, forgiveness and equality. But the church has become obsessed with missionary work, temples-tithing (a great system of extortion) and better fits the program of a money-making corporation). I think much of temple ritual was one of Joseph’s methods of controlling and manipulating other. It seems to me that temple ritual was part of Joseph’s sexual pattern, promising a women that she and her family would be together with him in the hereafter, which of course, required that she be quickly railroaded into the temple, without knowing before hand that she would be making death-threatening, horendous vows of secrecy. The Mormon Inquisition and excommunication thing is totally out of place and fits a totalitarian hierarchy with a chain-of-command rather than an institution based on love.
    Love you, my friend.

  53. Anthony
    July 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Always wondered what happened to Avraham Gileadi. I met him and read his books and found him to be a very devout believer. I always thought that if he was told to desist from teaching whatever the church leaders found objectionable at the time that he would do so without argument and there would be no need for excommunication. It seems that he wasn’t given a chance to desist before being excommunicated in a rather hasty manner, which is contrary to the recent claims of church spokespeople that local leaders excommunicate “apostates” only after a period of counseling fails to persuade them to change course.

    I don’t mean to diminish the experience of the other members of the “September six,” but Gileadi’s case may be the most outrageous. I doubt whether he had the slightest idea that any church leaders found his teachings objectionable right up until his excommunication. If I’m not mistaken, both his books were published by Deseret Book.

  54. A. R. Vapor
    July 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you, Christine Jeppson Clark, for sharing your story! It was beautiful and moving!

    I always had a hard time accepting the fact that my bishop counseled my mother strongly against getting a divorce. He warned her that if she does, then it would be her fault because my father was a sick man. This was a great bishop, and my mom really respected him. Because of this counsel, my mom never again thought about a divorce. And because of that, my father was able to sexually abuse me and my older sister. My sister got the worse end of the deal because she was raped for years while I was just molested. I think that my father had already begun doing it to her when the bishop counseled my mom against a divorce. While this never bothered my sister, it bothered me very much. I thought about this experience as I listened to Christine Jeppson Clark’s grandfather’s story (I believe it was her grandfather)…how God could call his own father on a mission while the family was falling emotionally apart. I related very much with that story…but I haven’t yet left the church, though I am thinking about it. Yes, how could God allow this to happen to me…to my sister…to my mother…to my brother? For years, I figured that maybe something worse would have happened if my mom did get a divorce. But still, there really is nothing rational about that counsel.

    • Lilli
      July 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      A. R. Vapor,

      I believe God never requires or wants any woman to stay in an abusive relationship if she could leave and protect her and her kids. Often though she can’t get herself and the children safely out and away.

      But God expects mothers to protect themselves and their children as best they can, especially from abusive husbands and fathers.

      I don’t believe in divorce or remarriage, for Christ taught against it, but separation for safety is perfectly fine and often vital.

      God would have blessed your mother for leaving and trying to protect herself and her children and he would have helped her, not condemned her.

      We must listen to Christ’s teachings over any church or church leader, if we don’t want to be deceived to do wrong.

      I have left the Church because I finally realized that it and it’s leaders don’t follow Christ and never have, like in protecting and providing for women and children who have been abused and abandoned, which Christ said is the reason for religion in the 1st place.

  55. Montserrat
    July 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I have great respect for everybody’s opinions and points of view, but this interview was so dry, and without any substance. When we position ourselves as judges of any religion supported with facts that have to do with human beings, it’s such a waste of time. I have found that inside religions is where you find the most fanatic, arrogant, nuts, hypocritical, and complicated people ever. I don’t care if you tell me you’re the son, the daughter, the friend or whatever of a general authority, that, does not make me respect your opinion more.

    John, when I listen to your podcast I can feel a tremendous effort on your part to convince yourself that what you’re doing is right. I say this because it’s intriguing to me how you can say you love the church if you think the Book of Mormon is false, and badmouth all that is precious for some of us. I respect your free will, I respect your legitimate right to look for the truth. But the truth, dear John, you will not find merely in documents, interviews or facts. Spirituality it’s a concept that has been misunderstood, especially in our western culture. The beauty of it comes when your own spirit trembles with eternal truths. Patience, a calm spirit, compassion with, no ego involved will bring a joy that is experienced only by the ones who want to walk the walk and not only talk the talk. Each of us have the responsibility to find the truth and live it. Don’t let your heart be troubled, make a choice and stop being a Mormon, stop putting hymns in the background to make yourself feel better. Don’t feel guilty to think different, you have all the right, but please be up front don’t hide and feast on the mistakes of human beings. They will never be perfect. Take what serves you best and keep walking your spiritual path and I wish you the best in your journey.

    • Sara
      July 10, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Montserrat, that was quite judgmental of you! So basically, “if you don’t like it, leave,” “… stop being a Mormon”? Wow. That’s what you’re telling John and many others in his situation. It’s not that easy. You are not showing any empathy and understanding. Where is the inclusion that Elder Uchtdorf talked about in his “big tent” talk in General Conference? There’s room for everyone in the Church, isn’t there?

      It was a great podcast. As usual, John interviews everyone on coming from different points of the faith spectrum. John interviews believers and nonbelievers alike. I’ve been listening to him for a number of years. I respect him. No one was demanding more credibility or respect for being related to a GA or anything of the kind. I’m sorry you took it that way. But it is interesting to note, however, that someone with such Mormon connections and roots now thinks very differently about the Church.

      I’m a lifelong member of the Church and I can respect where John is coming from. The Church needs to come clean of many aspects its history and doctrines. There are too many contradictions and sticky points. The Church teaches many good things, but it all comes down to whether it’s true or not. We shouldn’t follow the leaders blindly because they tell us so without questioning anything. At the same time tell us that they are not infallible. Which is it? Are they true leaders of God or aren’t they?

      Are they true leaders in the present and ignore past leaders because they were wrong then? That’s basically what the Church is doing today with its continuous essays and revised stories and teachings while throwing early leaders under the bus.

      However, I do agree with you that our spiritual path is unique and individual. We all must follow what we must. But don’t tell anyone to stop being a Mormon, or anything else. John and everyone will follow that individual path that they must follow. Ultimately, we all follow our hearts and pursue the quest for our own personal spirituality.

      By, the way, do you have Catalan ancestry? “Montserrat” is Catalan. Best regards, Sara.

  56. Pat
    July 9, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this podcast, John and Christine. This is by far the best podcast I have listened to so far. And I thought I’d been fooled a long time at 41 years. Those posters who think both of you are apostates or unthinking nut cases, have no idea what sort of religious organization they seem to be supporting. I, like Christine, watched the bubble burst upon finding that there were so many flaws with the Book of Mormon and how it was supposedly translated. My heart was broken and it has taken around two years to get over most of my anger. I hope you keep doing these podcasts, John, regardless of what disciplinary action is taken. Both of you are my heroes.

  57. Seattle Provo Boy
    July 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

    That was awesome and so fulfilling. It really is the backward confirmation bias! But it has been so helpful. So amazing to me to see how many of your siblings and the next generation have left. When will the geriatric leadership wake up? Never! We have to wait or the next generation!

  58. Patricia Larson
    July 10, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I have just discovered the Mormon Stories Podcast and am looking forward to–over time–hearing them all. As a young British convert, I came to Utah in the late 1960s and married a wonderful Mormon return missionary in the Salt Lake Temple. We were counseled at that time to multiply and replenish the earth, because choice spirits were waiting to come to us and if we used birth control they could possibly go to other families. Being good and faithful Mormons and listening to the Brethren with absolute obedience, I gave birth to five children in 9 years, in poverty and with no family help. The point of this little explanation is it show that faithful Mormon women in the 1960s and 1970s blindly followed the Brethren, even at the expense of their own sanity.

    For the last 30 years we have been secretly questioning various doctrinal problems. Like Lori, we watched BBC interview with Apostle Jeffery R. Holland. This was during the time that Mitt Romney was running for president and there were many interesting things discussed about Mormonism. However, what completely shocked us both was when Elder Holland lied on the video interview, denying that there were any signs and penalties showing how your life would be taken.

    In conclusion, this illustrates how the Brethren can misconstrue the truth. A that little thread of hope that I had was cut off that day!

    • David Macfarlane
      July 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Hi Patricia,

      I have only seen the 10-minute excerpt from the BBC interview on YouTube, so perhaps you are referring to the entire program and the Holland interview in context. While Holland does not come of particularly well, he does concede that the self-evisceration (yikes!) rituals were at one point part of the temple ceremony but have been removed. A detailed discussion of why those rituals were ever necessary and why God requires us to know a secret handshake to gain entry would be good, and perhaps that is part of the complete broadcast.

      Of course, Holland also wants us to know that he’s smart and has chosen Mormonism for himself so we should put a lot of stock in hsi commitment. And he doesn’t belong to a cult. So … there’s that.

      Cheers, David

  59. John Dwyer
    July 10, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I wonder when the next “faith promoting” stories are coming? Not much of that on the homepage (though a lot about John Dehlin though that was reshuffled to the top)

    The “bridge” aspect of John Dehlin’s website and podcast are fading away. Exmormon stories indeed.

    • BakIrish
      July 10, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      John Dwyer, I am one of the many who still attend church and try to magnify my callings because I met John and listen to his podcasts. I have visited the exmormon.org Web site to which you refer (?) and the tone there is multiple magnitudes more “negative” than it is here. I do not think your attempt at humor or sarcasm is appropriate.

      I live in Utah County and have, for years, resented the many voices telling me, every day, how wonderful the Church is and how wonderful it is to be a member. All this, when I knew, for me, it was not. Mormon Stories has given be a “balanced” safe place where I learned, for the first time after 50 years of difficult membership, that there are people in the Church just like me. It may not be balanced for you, but for me it offsets the pro-Mormon “cultural noise” from my family, ward, workplace in just the perfect way.

      I assume from the implications of your post that you do not like John and the mormonstories.org Web site. If that is the case, please leave it alone. The medicine that is good for me may not be good for you, but please don’t push to have my medicine taken away.

      • John Dwyer
        July 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

        Exmormon to me is somebody who is an ex mormon – nothing more. This site is becoming an ever greater voice for ex mormons.

        When nearly every post is either John’s anti-testimony (not to mean anti-mormon just his statement of belief/testimony/mission statement that every fundamental pillar that a “TBM” would believe is false.) or an interview with somebody who has left the Church, John is going to lose the “stay lds” the “want to believe” crowd.

        If John serves a niche for ex mormons or mormons who are primarily social mormons that’s fine. But let’s be very clear that faith and spirituality is being completed cored out of that version of “religion” here. The website wasn’t always like that but has shifted to this version.

      • John Dwyer
        July 11, 2014 at 10:15 am

        I guess I’m fortunate to have better resources available where I live?

        There are plenty of people in my ward and community (including professional psychiatric counselors) who are loving and tolerant and inclusive but have come to different conclusions than John.

        There are also hundreds of thousands of great non-lds people where I live who would be happy to include my family and which would serve all of the roles a social mormon seems to seek, if my family were to conclude that the church did not serve an important spiritual role. We do not face a dichotomy of either “putting on a brave face” or being shunned by the community.

        That said anybody who attends our ward whether adulterer or non-believer has been warmly welcomed as best as I can tell. I know teenagers have a hard time with all of this stuff (being included fear of being shunned) and I would definitely agree that they can face a hard time. They seem to have more issues with who is hanging out with whom than the kinderhook plates though.

        All that said I feel like I’m a bit on the fringe on a few things – fortunately where I am I’m just not at all alone. (These “fringe” folk I know who also happen to listen to mormon stories all see mostly the same problems with mormon stories that I do.)

        • BakIrish
          July 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm

          I understand and appreciate your response. Thank you.

    • Winebibber
      July 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      John Dwyer – you are 100% correct: John is fading this podcast away from the center. While I don’t believe in Mormon doctrine or theology, I do miss John’s balanced approach.

    • Sean
      July 11, 2014 at 9:16 am

      John Dwyer, It’s not John Dehlin’s job to deliver “faith promoting” stories that just so happen to fit your specific paradigm. The internetz is a wide world, I’m sure there are many stories, steeped in feel good faith promoting correlated history just ready for your consumption. May I suggest lds.org?

      • John Dwyer
        July 11, 2014 at 9:58 am

        I admired John’s initial “staylds.com” mission. I’m simply saying it shifted. If you’re saying that this site isn’t meant to be inclusive anymore I’d say, I agree!

        Staylds.com hasn’t been updated in 2 years and there are 5 year old posts on the front page!

    • Rude Dog
      July 29, 2014 at 2:24 am

      I so love it, in fact, find it delicious when John Dehlin gets your goat. When do realize that you so come off as a sore loser?

      Come back when you can empathize with those that do not think like you (thank god) and need this space to not slit their Mormon membership.

  60. Joey Carlson
    July 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Excellent podcast, John & Christine. Thanks so much for making it!

  61. jon
    July 10, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Clark mentions some books, I believe in the first podcast. Did anyone catch them? One was on marriage, another was the journal of … (I forget the name but he was in the trek headed west and was critical of the leaders) I believe she said this one was online. Was there another one?

    I always listen while I’m doing other things so can’t take notes when I need to :-/ .

  62. VLD
    July 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you Chris and John — I can’t even tell you how much healing I have received with this conversation today. I was especially moved with her story of her young daughter’s illness. When my husband died from cancer despite numerous blessings and promises, I had a real glimpse into “mormon-think” on this topic. I was a young, uneducated widow with 5 school aged children, and yet I was subject to extreme shaming from my ward — and why, why, why? Chris explains it beautifully.

    I had members come to me AT HIS FUNERAL and tell me how if I had just prayed more, or had more faith, or paid more tithing, or any number of blaming statements, that he would have been saved, when the truth was that he had terminal cancer and he just didn’t survive… plain and simple. Not because he was not a good enough Mormon, not because he was “needed” in the kingdom, not because he didn’t believe enough, but because cancer invaded his body and he was not cured. It wasn’t my fault at all, nor was it his. If they had thought about it, why would either of us not want him to survive? But they didn’t think.

    My non-member friends and neighbors couldn’t believe the sentiment buzzing around the funeral coming from church members. I’m sure these members thought they were right, but it was so cruel – even my bishop joined in this “you could have done more to save your husband” bandwagon…. I am fairly sure he was the instigator of most of this sentiment from others. People in my ward had a hard time making sense of my husband’s death when we had all fasted and prayed so very much and it didn’t save him. It was easier to just blame my quantity of faith on the failure of everyone else’s prayers…. (however, 8 years later, this bishop did come to me and apologized for his unsupportive behavior – he saw people treating his widowed mother in this same manner and realized he had harmed me – I’m sure that was hard for him to admit)

    I guess I didn’t realize that I was *still* carrying this lack of faith guilt around even after all these years. I know this was only a tiny part of your conversation and you probably thought it was insignificant in the bigger picture of the whole interview, but listening to someone else lovingly say exactly the thing I have been thinking all these years has really comforted me…. Thank you!

    I know I only touched on one little thing, but honestly, this whole interview was wonderful. Many good points and observations… Blessings to you both

    • Carla M.
      July 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Wow, VLD–sorry you got that kind of response from fellow ward members at such a vulnerable time. Good that the bishop later apologized. Take care.

  63. Mike
    July 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    This is a fascinating interview.
    Is Christine related to Buckley Jeppson? Just curious.

  64. PJ
    July 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    While initially intrigued to hear this story, I’m saddened by the amount of personal privacy that has been irresponsibly compromised. God help those who’s names have been exposed without the opportunity to defend themselves, especially those who are no longer alive. Uplifting and of good report, this is not.

    • John Harwood
      July 11, 2014 at 1:20 am

      PJ, how long should someone wait to publish a loved one’s journal? Particularly if that loved one is a person of widespread societal interest?

      • Jess
        July 11, 2014 at 9:13 am

        The family of President Warren G. Harding stipulated to the Library of Congress that Harding’s love letters to his mistress could not be released to the public for fifty years after his death. In his case you can see why–he wrote some pretty racy letters to his lover.


        Mark Twain stipulated that his autobiography could not be published for one hundred years following his death. He blunted criticized fools and tyrants in public office. He castigated US imperialism that resulted in the genocide of native peoples in the Phillipines.

        I’m also intrigued by this story, PJ. I would disagree with you on those God needs to help, however. I say God help those men who exercise unrighteous dominion over their brothers and sisters in the name of God. As the Lord himself says, ‘Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man.’

        Only God can say with certainty who is or has exercised unrighteous dominion but the Lord also observes that ‘almost all men’ are prone to this self-delusion once they get a little power. I see no reason to wring our hands over those in the story losing their anonymity to exercise unrighteous dominion.

  65. Jeff
    July 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I just finished listening to this podcast and was so impressed. Thank you both! In the 4th podcast, Christine says she now finds the world fascinating not scary. I wanted to share an experience I had just today: I was in the Vincent Price Art Museum in East Los Angeles viewing the Richard Valverde “Experimental Sights” exhibit. As I walked through the exhibit, the thought struck me that “Old Jeff (aka TBM Jeff) would have been put off by this art and would have said ‘It’s amazing what people who don’t have the truth will do.’ but then I immediately thought ‘But New Jeff (aka no-longer-TBM Jeff) now just says “people are amazing.” Like Christine, I also now feel free and fascinated and happy.

  66. Lee
    July 10, 2014 at 11:47 pm


    Just wanted to give you both a huge big thanks for making this! It relates with me on MANY different levels. Christine, thanks for giving me hope about life after Mormonism. As a young adult and aspiring academic who has yet to come out to his family about his disbelief, I’m always glad to hear uplifting stories about post-Mormon life and the great joy you’re finding there. I’m looking forward to the time when I can finally get there! Thanks again for both of you two for the great episodes!

  67. John Harwood
    July 11, 2014 at 1:18 am

    John, a thousand times “thank you!” I’ve been a consumer of MS for about two years now, and this is by far the most impactful podcast you’ve put out. What a wonderful woman!

  68. Lincoln
    July 11, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Bravo to Christine for not only having the courage to make such significant changes in her life regardless of consequences, but also for pursuing her dreams going forward! It would be easy for one to pity themselves after experiencing a faith crisis (as I have been prone to do), but instead she gets out there and looks for opportunities to better herself through her PHD and others through her work with Alzheimer’s research

    How much greater is her path now relative to her previous paradigm, where she’d likely be planning the props for her next Relief Society lesson?

    Thank you John for your continued work.

  69. July 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I realized last year that mormonism is like any other if not worse than any other religion

  70. Steve
    July 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    For the record, Fascinating Womanhood was written by Helen Andelin, who was an LDS author. There’s a fascinating (no pun intended) 8 part web documentary that was recently released about Helen and the book. It’s available at:


    • Carla M.
      July 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Steve, A roommate at BYU in the early 80s had Fascinating Womanhood on her bookshelf. I picked it up and read parts of it and thought it was a parody. “This book is hilarious!” I told her as I read aloud the author’s advice to sew ric-rac on your sweatshirt if you absolutely had to wear one so that you’d still look feminine. At some point I realized I was the only one laughing . . .

      • Lilli
        July 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

        When I was single at BYU I loved and embraced ‘Fascinating Womanhood’, but then when I got married and started applying the principles I quickly realized that while the book has many wonderful, true and helpful ideas that do work, it was mostly a book written for women with abusive husbands who didn’t respect their equality in the marriage. The book unfortunately does not teach women to expect respect from their husbands and expect and encourage him to respect her equal position, power and voice in the marriage.

        The book teaches women to accept and deal with and even like an abusive husband. But to a woman with self respect the book is repulsive in many respects.

        But I can see why the book was popular back then, for spouse abuse was not even understood and it seems most husbands were abusive to some degree, if just in their attitude towards the subservience of women, especially in the Church, where men were falsely taught that women should submit to them but that they didn’t have to submit to their wife, even 1st. This attitude was started by the likes of Brigham Young and thus was very strong in the Church, so I’m not surprised that an LDS woman ended up writing such a book to unknowingly deal with such abusive husbands.

        It’s sad to think of how women just went along with abuse back then and catered to such men and their abusive attitudes instead of standing up to them and expecting respect.

        Today self-respecting righteous women would not even stay with such a man who had these attitudes and wanted such a subservient wife if he wasn’t willing to submit to her 1st and foremost.

  71. Jared Madden
    July 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    @ David

    I couldn’t agree more. It never ceases to amaze me how everyone is so sure about the thoughts and motives of others.

    • David
      July 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

      John is practicing censorship on this site and is not allowing me expression of my contrary views to this podcast. He is repeatedly deleting my original post on this thread. He is also deleting any post where I point out this censorship.

      This post is not likely to last through out the day either. I’m quite surprised by this given the stated nature of the site.

  72. Ryan Wimmer
    July 12, 2014 at 1:52 am

    If John or Christine is reading I am curious about Christine’s current religious beliefs. I assume from the references to humanism that Christine is a secular humanist and or atheist.

  73. CorveyMichaels
    July 12, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Interesting podcast and I too have had similar experiences and questions. For me, it is not a question between provable and unprovable truth as the podcast seems to try and insinuate. I was bit troubled with John spending too much time leading to the conclusions vs. allowing the discovery of Christine’s. A bit of his own confirmation bias. Maybe due to the stresses being experienced at the moment. Anyhow, it must be tough for John right now and the bitterness maybe too close to the surface. Nontheless, what is missing is how powerful myth has been for the human experience. Myth, literially true or not, is real. My spritual experineces are real and provable for my life. Being mormon is also real and it does not need to be literal to create reality. What is real to the brethern is not always real for me. The LDS Church is real and has real influence. I am real and have real influence. But, they do not always agree nor have to agree to be valid.

  74. David
    July 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    We have a TBM family. Into our family came a lovely daughter. As she grew it became apparent to us that her personality could be described as a “rule follower”. Among other children we also have a son. He was not rebellious but you would not describe his personality as a “rule follower”. These two children both grew up in the same home and the same religious environment. Yet they experienced our religion quite differently.

    During middle school our “rule follower” began down an unhealthy path. By the beginning of High School our concerns were large enough that we started her in therapy with a wonderful TBM family counselor in our Stake (in California). We learned about what is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is the only psychological therapy that has been shown via scientific methods to be effective.

    We learned that our wonderful daughter was suffering from a “cognitive distortion” (a distortion in thinking) known as “Should Statements”. Much of what she did, she did because that is what she thought she “should” do. A corollary is to do things because you think you “must” do them. These were statements that she made to herself. They weren’t coming from us. For example, she would attend the temple once a week because she felt that’s what she “should” do. Many other things in her life were motivated by this pattern of thinking. Some of them religious in nature but others related to school, career choices etc. She was a higher achiever..4.0 GPA etc. She wanted an “A” in everything and wanted to do everything the way it “should” be done. Sound familiar to anything in this podcast?

    We learned that this cognitive distortion leads to guilt, depression, resentment and a feeling of pressure. All things she was suffering from.

    Now can we rationally blame the Church, the Brethren, a GA, a bishop or Stake President etc.? No. Why not? Because that would be a miss-attribution of the problem. The problem wasn’t with any of these external things. The problem was in *her* thinking patterns. She needed to “own” her own thoughts and her own choices and learn healthier ways to think. She didn’t need changes in any Church or any leader or anything external to herself.

    She has made significant progress with adjusting her thinking patterns…but it’s not easy and it has taken time. It’s something she works on regularly. She does not need to reject her faith, her religion or her beliefs to correct this distortion. In fact rejecting these external things wouldn’t fix the root cause of the problem anyway. Because the problem is not found there.

    • tropical animal
      July 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Dear Mom,

      It is so good that you are able to observe your daughter and get help. And that you and your daughter, are working together on her problem and making progress. Being a teenager in today’s society, especially someone with your daughter’s personality, is not easy. They face so many problems where they take themselves too seriously–self-image, self-acceptance, group-acceptance, self-worth, body image, the development of sexual feelings. The cognitive therapy she is receiving is good to reduce and disconnect the anxiety associated with the things she worries about. I know you know your daughter better than I or anyone else. Your daughter is never going to be a bad girl. Find ways to reward her when she expresses an independent or creative idea. And I know you are already listening to her in a non-judgmental way, especially listening and showing your understanding by asking in a loving way if this is what she is feeling. I know I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. Just trying to be understanding and supportive. But anyway. Love you.

    • jman
      July 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      You assume that the problem with the ‘should statements’ developed independent of anything outside of your daughter. That it was all an internal thing. But how can you know? How can you know that your daughter’s personality wouldn’t have developed differently had she had a different social structure besides the church in the earliest years of her life? I too have seen therapists and clinical psychologists. One of them introduced me to the ways in which I was telling myself I “should” do this or that, and how destructive it could be. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that when the Church and certain personality types collide, that personality type is poisoned, and the result is mental illness.

      We are taught in the church that we “should” be behaving in a certain way, dressing in a certain way, speaking in a certain way, believing in a certain way, thinking in a certain way, etc. It is not at all difficult to see how some personality types will internalize this message during the earliest years of their existence, only for it to show up with nasty results later in life. Does this mean the Church isn’t true? Not necessarily. It just means that it possibly isn’t going to be the wonderful thing for everyone.

    • Yvonne
      August 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      She is lucky to have you for parents who realized something was wrong and got the appropriate help for her. But what about another child who hears all the shoulds, especially from the church, believes them all, and proceeds to try to follow them all? Much better for church leaders to simply not pronounce every thought they have as words from on high. I was much like your daughter and tried to follow everything exactly. It is a recipe that will fail.

  75. whizzbang
    July 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Does anyone know when and where the Elder Jeppsen talk was given? Thank you!

  76. Megan
    July 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I thought this was interesting: http://avrahamgileaditestimony.blogspot.com/ Here’s the back story since from Avraham’s own blog.

  77. imaperffectnurse
    July 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm


    I agree with some things you’ve said. I think it was David O. McKay that said “Women aren’t baby machines. We should space our children. He, Heavenly Father gave his daughters brains and wants us to get an education or whatever we need to do to take care of ourselves. We shouldn’t EVER rely on someone else to do that. My mom was of the same era as your dad. She was a nurse, and she felt like Pres. McKay was CORRECT!!. She never sacrificed the church for a career, she INCLUDED it. She worked 11P-7A to incorporate all that she wanted to do. Because of her desires, Heavenly Father blessed her to do that. She would STILL go to church at 10A on Sunday after working on Saturday night, go to Relief Society on Tuesday after working on Monday night, whereas other stay-at-home mothers wouldn’t go to any extra meetings during the day because it interfered with their days work at home (HA, HA, HA). The stay-at-home mothers aren’t making any sense. In fact they are selfish and judgmental. A person should follow the bretheren/priesthood as long as they are righteous, not follow them to hell!! Just because my husband who is a priesthood holder doesn’t pay his tithing, it allows me not to. I don’t think so. I’m accountable for myself. I wouldn’t leave the church over any priesthood holder either. I’ve been offended my several “Priesthood Holders”. So what. They are just assholes, arrogant assholes!!, but thy aren’t about to run me off from something I love. Just because they are a Bishop, Stake President, General Authority, or even the Prophet, does NOT, does NOT allow them to be abusive. Heavenly Father is NOT speaking through them when they are talking like that. Pres. Benson said some terrible things about women working outside the home. He was WRONG to talk like that. He’s NOT speaking for The Lord AT ALL!!–Pres. Oaks. Pres. Oaks is wrong to talk the way he does too. The church is true, the bretheren aren’t always on the right track.

  78. Penny Meadows
    July 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm


    I agree with a lot of what you say, but not all. I wouldn’t leave the church over the brethren or anyone!! It’s YOUR responsibility to learn for yourself what’s right. The BRETHREN may be offering their own opinion. A person is NOT an apostate because they disagree with the BRETHREN!!. Even the prophet has his own opinion. Unless the prophet says “Thus saith the Lord”. , we aren’t obligated to follow. Any person (even the BRETHREN) says different is WRONG!!. Pres. Benson was VERY VERY VERY offensive and abusive towards women in his views. He was a PIG!!! I would NEVER leave the church over a big ass PIG like him–NEVER!!! Don’t leave the church because of the stupid views of the BRETHREN, do what you think Heavenly Father wants.

    • Sean
      July 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Christine, when is the last time a Mormon prophet has gotten up and said the words; “Thus saith The Lord”? Thomas S. Monson? Nope. Gordon B. Hinckley? Not once. (In fact, on one occasion Hinckley went out of his way, when talking about emergency preparedness, to state that he WASN’T prophesying.) I believe you’d have to go back to Wilford Woodruff to find a prophet willing to speak the magical phrase that removes all doubt.

      On the bright side, using your exacting standard, members are to give no heed to counsel regarding gay marriage and women obtaining the priesthood. After all, if “Thus saith The Lord” isn’t spoken, it’s merely opinion.

      The mental gymnastics required to believe in prophetic revelation as taught (or not taught) by the LDS church is astoundingly great. It’s sad really, to see unwitting members grasp at any straw or morsel in an attempt to justify and make sense of the Church’s core teachings. Plain and precious? Hardly.

      • Sean
        July 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

        The above comment was meant for Penny, not Christine.

        • Penny Meadows
          July 20, 2014 at 8:16 am

          Sean, and anyone else that cares,

          I hope you aren’t making fun of me. That’s unkind. Bottom line is that an individual should always get their own testimony of what’s right, and perform accordingly.

  79. Carla M.
    July 12, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Christine’s comment that her father had heard that Avraham Gileadi had been a “rock star” prompted a memory: My very first class ever at BYU in Spring 1981 was a 7 a.m. BOM class taught by Brother Gileadi. (Actually, we spent most of our time on Isaiah) He told us about his life, and it was a fascinating story. He said he was in a popular rock band in New Zealand when he was younger. But at some point, he became convinced that rock music and his participation in it was “carnal and devilish,” and he voluntarily gave it up. Music was still important to him, though. We had a piano in the classroom, and we started each class with a hymn. I was shocked when I heard in ’93 of his excommunication. It just didn’t make sense. Your story provides missing pieces of the puzzle. Sad for the heartache it caused him and his family.

  80. Penny Meadows
    July 13, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    John and family,

    I hope you got your special recipe and are enjoying it. I keep praying you DON’T get excommunicated. Please post when results are made known. Your friend and supporter.

  81. Justin H.
    July 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I was amused by the comments about Gordon Hinckley talking about keeping the doctrine pure. Funny that rule didn’t apply on TV.

  82. July 14, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I loved this entire interview!! I related to so much of her story, and the part that I didn’t relate to (being Mormon in the 50’s and 60’s) was fascinating.

    Confirmation bias was a theme in these four episodes. Have you talked much about cognitive dissonance? Part of this interview reminded me how after I left the church when I was 30 I realized I’d been living with enormous amounts of cognitive dissonance. For example, I had my own sets of beliefs that were in conflict with teachings of the church. But because I was a full, faithful believer, I somehow forced myself to live with both and not see that I was in conflict with myself. Or really, that my true beliefs were in conflict with my forced beliefs.

    On top of that, there is so much that members have to ignore and shove away in order to continue believing. Once I left the church my mind felt lighter, not having to harbor so much cognitive dissonance.

  83. July 14, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I know that many people fear how they will raise “good” children if they don’t have the church. I had that fear, too, and continued to attend for 6 months after I was convinced it wasn’t true because I thought my kids would need it. That’s when I realized the Church actually undermines the family if the parents are not 100% on board with everything (and, often even if they are).

    I walked away from it all with a bit of fear for my kids when they were 3 and 5 years and and I was pregnant with a third. We are atheist. I focused on helping my kids develop empathy, and now I am convinced that empathy and helping children see the natural results of their actions are the real key to morality.

    My kids are now almost 17, 15, and 11. They’re amazing, intelligent, and compassionate people. They’re not distracted by dating but are focused on developing their careers. My daughter has been baffled by her few LDS friends and the cruel things they say to others — without swearing, of course. I have so much respect and admiration for my children and who they have became. I am glad I did not allow the fear to keep me at church. I think they are better people without it. I just wanted to share this for anyone else who may currently have the same worries.

  84. Lilli
    July 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

    She talked about how hard it was for the Willy handcart company to go against social pressure to not go and to believe the leaders that all will be well, but we must realize that these people already chose to ignore Joseph’s & Christ’s teachings against polygamy, the vilest of evils, and they did not have charity, and thus had already decided to follow Brigham and his vileness, which was probably very talked about in Nauvoo. So since they chose evil and rejected truth, they were very easily deceived to go along with all other wrong choices.

    These people chose to believe in Brigham instead of Joseph and Christ and the scriptures they had, which were all totally against polygamy.

    So they had already chosen to follow a false prophet, so that was the problem, not their inability to stand up to social pressure. Once we lose the Spirit we easily go with every wind of opinion and pressure.

    • Pete
      July 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

      May God show you more mercy than you afford these poor immagrants, most who i am sure were unaware of polygamy. Cold Lilli, cold.

      • Lilli
        July 15, 2014 at 9:32 am


        I believe they were very aware of polygamy and it was very much talked about back then among them, there were probably many who tried to talk them out of following Brigham and going west, for many Saints could see through Brigham and didn’t follow him, and Joseph had preached so strongly against polygamy to the whole church for years and years that it was unmistakable how wrong it was.

        And if they would have had the Spirit they would have been warned about Brigham Young and not followed him, for polygamy was hardly the only evil he was involved in.

        We must learn from history if it’s going to be worth talking about, not gloss over it so we repeat the same mistakes, like most are doing today in the Church, continuing to follow false prophets who take advantage of them. That is what is cold, to watch that go on and not say something.

        I had relatives who fell for Brigham too, but it was their pride that caused them to fall and be deceived, they did not have charity or follow Christ.

        Those people are now looking down on us all hoping we realize and learn from their mistakes and not think they were right. It would be a disservice to their suffering if we didn’t learn from it and awake.

  85. Lilli
    July 15, 2014 at 9:20 am

    And her grandfather was right, God would not ever want or ask a man to go on a mission and leave his wife & family, let alone leave them desolate. Such would be one of the worst of sins to do that to your wife & family. God knows a man’s 1st & greatest responsibility is to protect and provide for and love his wife and children and do all he can to make his wife happy, secure, safe and loved above all else.

    But false prophets always want us to put them and their agenda over a spouse or children’s welfare.

  86. Terry
    July 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Here it is 8 days since the podcast. I wish I had posted my comments much much sooner. I can see that many related subjects have been covered so far, but I’m not afforded the time to read them all. If I write something that someone has brought up already, I apologize.

    On the subject of following your leaders vs. following your own best logic, my mind ALWAYS goes to this Levi Savage story. Thanks so much for starting off this way. Spot on! Were you reading my mind? It’s a very good example of the LDS member’s dilemma/conundrum.

    Over my years in the church I’ve heard numerous Elders Quorum lessons about “obeying” church leaders. However, it’s usually presented to you in a way to say that the reason of your disagreement is because of the “inconveniences.” In other words, you would be “put out” in one way or another. But this is a gross oversimplification, a straw man logic. There is more to it than that.

    Hearing these kinds of instructions over the years has compelled me to gradually make sense of it all; to come to my own terms with the teaching. I have concluded that if a leader were to tell me to do something that I had good reason to believe would be extremely detrimental (like tearing up my marriage), I would be right in bringing this to the attention of the leader. If they would not listen, then I believe I would still be in good standing with the Lord if I did not obey my leader.

    I joined the church in 1977. I used to hear church leaders in those days say, “Make your choices based on faith and wisdom.” I am not hearing that any more. Is it just me, but these days I only hear the word “faith” promoted, and I don’t hear the word “wisdom” used.

    Let the children flow? In my freshman year at BYU, I met a lovely, petite girl from Laramie, Wyoming. A nice healthy girl. I ran into her again after serving a mission. She was overrun with children, and looked like a wrung out rag! I mean it–she looked like she was on the verge of death! I can’t express how very sad I became with this discovery.

    So this experience and others compelled me to work out my own wisdom about following the generic (faith emphasized) advice that we often hear. I will carefully weigh the consequences before jumping into an action.

    Sorry for my ramblings, but one more thing:

    Part of the account of the Willie and Martin handcart story tells of the new Saints arriving in Far West area (I think it was Far West), tired and hungry and worn out. The local leaders decided to test their faith by having a big meal, of which the new Saints were not invited. One of the new immigrants said, “Can you believe this?!” Check me on this story.

  87. David Petersen
    July 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Great episode. John, thanks for all the work you do. The raw honesty you exhibit in your own investigation of faith are heartening and inspiring.

    Christine, I appreciate a lot of what you share in this interview, but I think you are undervaluing the importance of narrative as a legitimate structure to human knowledge. I appreciate your drive to “know” and agree on the importance of the scientific method in achieving that kind of understanding. But I think many scientists then take the knowledge achieved and convert it into a narrative form in order to make it intuitive and something that can generate additional hypotheses. For example, it’s much easier to understand the relationship between space and time when you have a story about someone travelling on a rocket at the speed of light. The narrative makes room for additional questions that aren’t immediately apparent in the proof of the equations. I bring this up because I think it’s one of the great treasures of the gospel that is often neglected. Our narratives’ synthetic adaptability to adopt alternate and sometimes seemingly contradictory story lines, many of which contain the kind of truth you crave. For me, that is what makes the gospel exciting.

    I also wanted to comment on both John and Christine bemoaning the core of the church’s doctrine centering on following the brethren rather than the example of Christ. It’s a valid point, but I think it’s also an indication that you may be living in an area where you are under-utilized. I recently served as bishop in a ward on the east coast where I was putting 30 hrs/week into my calling and 95% of that time was fairly evenly divided between welfare issues, humanitarian aid, and teaching Christ-like love in a ward with serious socio-economic rifts. Re-enforcing the patriarchy was the last thing on my mind. I think the whole Ward Council felt the same way. While it was completely exhausting, I’ve never been happier or felt closer to the Savior.

    • Lilli
      July 16, 2014 at 8:56 pm


      As I look back to my lifetime in the Church, now having left, I realize that we can easily ‘confuse’ the good feelings we get from serving others and teachings them about Christ (like on a mission or in a calling) with thoughts that the Church is true.

      But I now realize that people in all religions have the same good feelings from serving others in their churches & callings as LDS do, but that doesn’t mean their church or the LDS Church is true.

      Not that I think ‘you’ equate those 2 things, but your comments reminded me of that idea which I learned, as I looked back and wondered why I was so happy serving others even on my mission, even though I know now that the Church isn’t true and never was.

      I didn’t have good feelings on my mission because the church was true, but because the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I was living and sharing was true.

      • July 21, 2014 at 11:07 pm


        I have heard this kind of criticism before, but I’m not sure that’s an adequate enough reason to dismiss those good feelings. I have felt good feelings in all kinds of contexts – at concerts, with my family, at work, with friends, serving. Instead of using that as a reason to diminish my experiences, why not go the opposite direction and recognize that God is in all of these experience. God’s hands are in many churches working with many good people. And you feel good when you feel like you’re on the path that God wants you to be on. Simple as that.

  88. Jen
    July 15, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Hooray! This was most wonderful. Thanks both John and Christine. What an inspiration. I had to agree that the “tower” of safety is really only keeping us from escape, and maybe the only thing it keeps us safely in is the institution, but is in reality very dangerous to ourselves. I’m sure you’d find Rapunzel very depressed, involved in cutting, and drug addiction (found in the cupboard of her very safe tower, remember her “mother” was a witch) had she followed the advice of her “protector”. Free the birds!

  89. Sherry
    July 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I listened with interest to Christine’s story as I am a product of the same era and culture she grew up in. We grew up in the same area both going to Skyline H S and I was only 3 years younger. In fact she probably knew my older sisters. Although I only started my faith crisis about 1 year ago, I can relate to so many of the feelings and questions she had about the teachings and doctrines of the church. I worked for the Postal Service for many years and I remember so well the treatment I received by so many men in and out of the church who believed I should stay at home as a house wife instead of work outside the home. The pressure from even other sisters was intense. I never fully felt accepted by them for many years. Thank heaven things changed!

  90. June
    July 16, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I am a nevermo…however, I study new religious movements (NRM’s). More specifically, I study religions founded in 19th and 20th century America. John’s podcasts have been a wonderful tool for me, in my study of Mormon culture. Thanks.

    As an outsider looking in at differents religious groups all claiming to be god’s true church/organization…the similarities I see among all of them are astounding!

    • July 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Wow, I’d be interested to hear what you’ve learned, June. I’m fascinated by the Seventh Day Adventists because there are so many parallels with us.

      My understanding is when their prophetess Ellen White’s writings didn’t hold up too well with time, they had their crisis, but they seem to have arrived in a very good place: focusing on the teachings of Christ and their mission in the world, building schools and hospitals in countries where they are badly needed, being transparent and honest about their finances and membership, adapting with the times, and seriously outgrowing us.

      I wish we could just admit that Joseph Smith had his issues but that the church has a real place in the world for its family orientation and strong social programs. And focus more on the teachings of Christ and less on Joseph Smith.

      And I wish John would interview a Seventh Day Adventist.

  91. Lilli
    July 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    John Dehlin,

    With most men and leaders in the church disrespecting and fearing women’s equality in the home & church, it is so wonderful and refreshing to hear you speak so respectfully and acceptingly about women and their total equality, not only in the home but also in the highest positions of Church leadership if leaders would let it be thus.

    Would that all men (and especially church leaders) were as humble as you.

  92. Roger
    July 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I just listened to this at the advice of a relative. I left mormonism over a decade ago a couple years after serving a mission in East Africa. I’ve had quite a long and interesting spiritual journey at which many of you might raise an eyebrow, I’m a bit of a wanderer in that respect passing through buddhism, the pentecostal church, united church (basically methodist for Canadians), atheism, asatru, the anglican church. These different traditions have helped to give me insight on subjects like morality, ethics, obedience, the idea of righteousness.

    Every once in a while I check in with the mormon world to see what the latest embarassment is. In the last few years I’ve learned German, and in doing so, I’ve done a lot of research on national socialism and the psychology of the leaders of the third reich. It struck me early on how their personality profiles lined up with those I had encountered among mormon leadership – their eagerness to demonstrate the integrity of their affiliation to the leader through absolute obedience, their ability to accept the leader as defining truth, their ability to cope with a truth that was not absolute but flexible depending on the leader’s pronouncements. In short, they were all yes men. They were men of a hierarchical mindset. They were not men of originality. While many of them were of over average IQ’s, they were not moral, spiritual innovators. They were simply men who measured well on a particular system, in their case an insidious system which glorified violent struggle above all else. Mormonism, let’s be frank, differs only in the degree to which physical violence is prescribed as redemptive. There is violence however, social, emotional, spiritual, aimed at keeping the herd in line. Many Germans viewed Hitler as a warm Santa Claus type figure, certainly as a redeemer who would rescue Germany from decadence and moral pollution, and yet he was a monster. I find the similar affectionate characterizations of general authorities and apostles likewise distasteful.

    I have to say that I have only the highest contempt for the individuals like the GA Mr. Jeppsen described at length in these interviews. Men such as he are not men of moral stature, or great character. They are yes men. If Jahweh says go and sacrifice your son (your onely son whom you love etc.), they’d do it, if the führer says go and sacrifice your son to the cause, they’d do it. If they’d been born Muslim, and subjected to the preachings of a malignant Imam, they might commit a terrorist act. They have no inner moral compass. Instead, they have obedience. These are not the Sophie Scholls of the world or the Dietrich Bonhoeffers or the Mahatma Ghandis or the Martin Luthers (not ignoring his failings). No, these are men whose moral contributions to the world are eminently forgettable. The best that can be said of them is that they clung to a code for security. As if inflexibility were a moral virtue. A code one might add whose veracity and ethical value are highly suspect.

    I’m glad Mrs. Jeppsen Clark has found her way out of the mormon religion. I wish her well in her intellectual, emotional and spiritual journey. My only advice is to not be afraid of wandering a little, seeing what there is to see. Don’t underestimate your own moral compass. That is not to see we are infallible, but as you know, defaulting to spiritual authority is a moral failing. Compassion and wisdom are fairly simple and don’t require all the trappings, undergarments, secret handshakes to clutter them up.

    I wish you well and remember “Not all those who wander are lost.”

  93. Anon
    July 21, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I just have to say that I keep thinking about this podcast all the time. It gives me so much excitement and hope, esp by the end where Christine tells about her current life. This makes me feel like life can be a good thing, that it’s not too late to have a happy fulfilling life. Christine in her current life reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver, the award winning author. You should write a book about this!

  94. Ryan
    July 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    This helped me better understand most of the behavior we see in the membership of the church.


    The fear of losing our connection to others drives us to accept bizarre beliefs.

    • tropical animal
      July 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Ryan, in a few simple words, I think you define one of the basic controls and motivations among Mormons. Love.

  95. Kellie
    July 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    This was great. Even though I was raised in the 80’s/90’s, I feel like my upbringing was so similar to hers (as I imagine many others feel). I had to laugh, though, when I was literally ironing my husband’s dress shirts while listening to podcast #1.

  96. Jill
    July 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Chris, I don’t even know if you remember me or read the comments but , I also moved to Abinidi at age 7 but you were a little bit older. Between my sisters age. Jill Christensen was my maiden name and I was so thrilled to hear your podcast! I felt like you were speaking about my life! I’m listening again to the part about beards. My dad has had a beard forever and I remember me worrying about that! I started doubting on my (first) marriage day when my parents couldn’t see me get married in the temple. My mom has passed but my dad is still alive. I couldn’t understand why these wonderful, honest, kind people couldn’t see me get married. Your sweet dad brought them in and told them if they would just accept everything, go to the temple etc. and he would give them temple recommends. They had integrity and gratefully said no even though I knew they were much worthier to be there than many that “stretched the truth” to come to the wedding, even my own grandmother. Your dad was also my physican and always so sweet. My mom had high regard for your mom even though I didn’t know Marion well. She was probably home ironing! I was so proud and grateful to hear your podcast! My question to you if you ever read this is how to you handle loved ones and friends that don’t even ask why I left. I did have a few friends that basically yelled and screamed at me. Most have been great but when I’m around them, 80% of them end up talking about church and act that what they are saying is god’s truth.! I try to be interested and polite but it gets overwhelming. Thanks again and p.s. I did graduate in Elementary Education so I could be the best mother ever!!

  97. Rea
    July 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I am now 61, 55 when I knew I would not stay in the church, and my children were also the catalysts over about 10 years. I remember that, in “Mutual” the YM/YW stood and recited the MIA Motto, which was: “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.” Imagine my surprise when that “motto” was disavowed by President Hinckley.

    John, you handled this interview beautifully. Listening, I wondered whether you truly believe there is a chance you will be allowed to remain a member. I admire you for being so honest in this interview and in your responses to the printed questions on the site.

    Christine, our experiences have been very similar except that the father of my children was a gay RM who felt he had nowhere to turn but marriage… so divorce came after 5 children because, as you said, birth control was completely out of the question according to the GAs. I feel I may not have understood something you said in the interview, which was, “What will Christ do for ME?” To me, that question was fully answered in the doctrine and I know you knew the doctrine. I am wondering what you mean by that.

    Good interview. Thank you.

  98. Adrie de Jong
    July 26, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I’ve been listening to quit some podcasts now about mormon history, the indians, the women, September 6, the spending of income of thithing.

    Every time I see Jesus Christ is inspiring someone to do something to happen for the good, I see how things get twisted and turned around and the action stops. Pres. Kimball puts his effort to live up to his patriarchal blessing by helping the indians. He is sent to England for two weeks and the whole thing that was built up was put down and gone when he returned. Something strange was going on ! I heard about mormon hospitals being sold and ofcourse women’s rights in the church diminishing with the years, even marriage becoming a dangerous place.

    I don’t know much about the person, but somehow his name came popping up everytime a Christlike action crashed: Elder Boyd K. Packer.

    I don’t know much about Elder Packer. I know a little about Near Death Experiences [NDE], and beside meeting The Light, there are also a few negative experiences, while the greater group of people don’t recall anything at all, like nothing is there !

    You talk about Elder Packer having had a NDE and he hadn’t shared much about it. Even though it made him run to the church fanatically and get him high in the LDS organisation, as is said: to serve The Lord.

    I rememeber having a testimony of Pres. Kimball, when I was a member, he had the right mindset and a true heart. I also remember seeing Brother Hinckley and immideatly knew that he was not a chosen one. I felt warned ! I left church in 1986 and got excommunicated, very much in the spirit of Elder Packer, in 1989 for doing a Christlike deed: let’s say I was feeding the hungry and helping the poor.

    I don’t know what kind of NDE Elder Packer had, but somehow it didn’t inspire him or made him inspire the church leaders to follow Jesus Christ.

    Patriarchy doesn’t only have the hierarchy problem, that creates situations as exclusion and one being more important than the other. A scan has been made of men to see where the hearing parts of the brains are active in his head when he hears a sound. When he heard a female voice, he heard it as a sound in the same place as where nature, music and birds are singing. But when he heard another man speaking to him, he heard the sound in the same place where his thoughts are.

    I interpret this as a physical lack as follows: when he hears a man speak he might have not the abillity to see the words as from another man, but just solely as his own thoughts and might include the thoughts sooner as if it came from his own mind. So, when a man speaks he considers it sooner as true and feel less need to question it and ponder if it is righteous. Therefor men are easier to brainwash, as we see in the army, in top of business class, leadership of countries or churches and terrorist or criminal organisations.

    The fact that they hear women and animals in the same place where they hear music may couse the effect that they don’t take serious what they hear, like it is entertainment. In our patriarchy world we see women are used for entertainment in advertising and for the use of sex. Next we see men hardly have any understanding in righteous treatment for women, animal and nature, but to exploit and use, without mercy, but concidering themselves to be more important than the non-male. A woman’s voice will allways be overruled by the male voice when two men are talking to one woman.

    And when I look how men act toward animal and nature, it is clear they have not any communication abillity or understanding: not noticing anything, not hearing, just exploit !

    This is how our patriarchy world is build up: money is easily made if you don’t care about any of individual needs of any living being.

    Now we only have men in the top of the church, and there is ranking and one is more important than the other and isn’t Elder Packer who’s a special counselor because of his age and ranked higher than the others ? His voice will be heard as most important !

    John told once he talked with a church-leader having a most warm and friendly talk, but when this man spoke at the conference he was a completely different person, like there had never been a talk between him and this man.

    Even though I love the romantic idea of church leaders being men who seek to be inspired by God, the only thing I only noticed when men comes around, cling together as leaders, is their own importance and keeping the spirit low, when it comes to building up a world of living together in peace: it simply doesn’t have their interest.

    They brainwash each others brains and can’t step outside the circle to be critical, especially when one leader needed to be followed. According to me at the moment we don’t have a Church of Jesus Christ of LDS on earth, but according to me we have a Church of Boyd K Packer kicking out Jesus Christ while misguiding the LDS on earth. Luckely enough, Jesus Christ has life forever and Boyd K Packers body isn’t without end !

    However, men together brainwashing each others mind into the wrong mindset is a serious thing we need to look at. If we truly care about the quality of life and care about each individual person, animal and any living thing on earth, we need to realise we need a solution to this problem.

    Jesus speaks to men as man, from His heart with words of wisdom. I pray that every man may take His words seriously and see past barriers build by patriarchy limited thinking and break them down ! It’s up to men to heal the world by correcting their limited thinking !

    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  99. Julie Stout
    July 27, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I appreciate Christine’s evolution as a person intellectually and spiritually. As I listened to her speak about her awakening, I compared my experience to hers. I grew up LDS in So. CA in the 1980’s and as my mother was the breadwinner for several years in her marriage to my father, and as I watched half of the women in my ward work, it was never a question that a career was very important to pursue, despite being female. Getting a graduate degree (M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy at BYU in 1999) wasn’t a novelty. What might have been a novelty in the LDS paradigm for me, was that I didn’t meet my spouse until age 30 and it gave me pause to question my value and worth as a person in the context of being an LDS woman. I remember hearing for years that us single women just needed to keep improving ourselves as we went along our path as single sisters. I agree with that because it’s always great to strive for more improvement in new areas that might bring richness to our lives, but there was an implication that maybe as we kept improving, we might be worthy of attracting a partner into our lives. Finally around age 27, I looked around and embraced reality instead of a fairytale: the reality that the single sisters in our Sugarhouse singles ward outnumbered the straight males by about 4:1 and that most of the single sisters were far more polished and successful than our male counterparts. It was so liberating to figure out that the advice of the brethren was limited in scope and that I could fashion a richer and more rewarding life by letting go of the quintessential wife and mother Mormon paradigm and embrace other aspects of life: hiking, the Sundance film festival, hip hop tap dancing, throwing fabulous dance and foodie parties with my gay roommate, travels with other single friends, home ownership and intellectual pursuits like the study of literature, art, etc. We all need to find authenticity in life. How beautiful that Christine’s daughter is now loud and proud about her love of anime, video games and computer programming. She probably would have been bored silly trying to live a life of teaching young kids. Leave that to those who feel a passion for it. I have chosen to continue to be a part of the LDS faith, but I try to use discernment as I go down that path. I am so grateful for Mormon Stories and all of the chances I have had to resonate with other fellow Mormons to fill in the gaps for the times when I haven’t had that experience at church. How beautiful and astonishing. What a gift John provides to us, and thanks to Christine for sharing her story!

  100. Rude Dog
    July 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

    This was a great one John. Episode four just flowed perfectly and articulated so many points that are not easy at times to articulate. As this journey progresses we find ways as a community of square pegs to put to words what seem like simple thoughts, but difficult to clearly communicate. Christine brought so many of my thoughts to words. I love the hammering of the main question throughout all four episodes, that being our interpretation of the emotions we claim as guidance from on high.

    Christine, thank you for your story here. My journey is so similar to yours, almost boringly similar. My wife however continues to believe and is saintly in her living. We have two completely different brains. I was the one lying awake in the middle of the night trying to square evolution and the plan of salvation, whereas Mrs. Rude Dog with her liberal sensibilities has no problem and as an educator even understands evolution better than most, sleeps like a baby next to me, not even considering the need for dissonance. There lying in the same bed, are two completely different approaches to thinking, and thinking about religion. It sounds like you and I think a lot alike. The same sharp razors of Occaam and effective tools I dismantled Mormonism with I could use to dismantle all belief structures. There was no way to unsee what I had seen, and no going back. I too found empiricism, the philosophy of the scientific method, and humanism as easy paths to walk. It seems like the liberal religious here that comment are not keen to realize that the church they describe, the one with good but fallible leaders who don’t always get things right but are trying hard, and that this church is still a great way to raise a family and find community, they don’t realize how far down the “humanism” road they already are. Thanks Christine.

  101. DaughterofGod
    July 31, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Dear John and Christine,

    This is was such a heart-breaking interview, I just had to comment! It was so sadly devoid of the Spirit. It is only the second MS podcast that I’ve heard, (the other being the interview with Benji Schwimmer which was also terribly sad) but I have to say that I really don’t think these podcasts are positive or helpful! :'( (I know I’ll get slammed for that.)

    I just want to tell you both that you are in my prayers. I am sorry that you both have allowed yourselves to lose your testimonies of the true gospel. The 12 are apostles of Jesus Christ. They are prophets, seers, and revelators. They know how to lead this church. I am so sad to hear you critique them. They just don’t want us to delve into things that make us confused. They want us to stick to the basics. Those basics brings us happiness! I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. And I know he was commanded to practice polygamy just as in ancient times. Read Fair Mormon, it is so clear. Today, President Monson is a prophet. He preaches love and kindness, to be like the Savior. Please recall the feelings of the Spirit that you once felt and knew. Living the gospel brings peace and joy!

    The most painful part of this interview is when you both talked about stopping reading the scriptures and PRAYING! And you were both laughing about it! :'( Prayer and the Spirit are what guide are lives to the truth! Those feelings are REAL! The gospel only teaches people to be happy. Are you guys really happy out of the church, critiquing it, and without prayer, and the Spirit? I honestly love and will pray for you both and your families. I pray for all those you influence. God bless you both. <3 <3 <3

    • Zack
      July 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Dear daughter of god…..takes courage to come in this setting and respectfully give a different prospective.

      • DaughterofGod
        July 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm

        Thank you, Zack. Love to you.

    • tropical animal
      July 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Dear daughter of God,
      My dear loving sister, I know you are a very loving and caring person. And love is above all, above everything else, more important than anything else. I am also sad, that I can’t enjoy the full impact of your loving personality. But unfortunately to be where you are (which I was) I would need to compromise my intellect and reasoning. But to
      experience the loving interaction of loving people like you, I believe I would do just that. But this is the point that I want to make with love. It is for you and I to be able to sit together happy and comfortable in the same meeting hall and enjoy each other’s loving companionship. Please pray that the powers that be will grant us this.

      Love you so much, my sister.

      • DaughterofGod
        July 31, 2014 at 10:45 pm

        Tropical Animal, I do believe that the powers that be would grant us this! God is LOVE. He knows our hearts and will bless us accordingly. Love you too. God bless you. <3 <3 <3

  102. Dawn
    July 31, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I listened to the whole thing. I really feel for this family. The overriding thought I kept having was it must be really hard to live in Utah. I think a lot of pressures people have there are not the same everywhere else in the church.

  103. Jan Crane
    August 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Just finished listening to Chris’s story! WOW- it is so much like my own. Makes me wonder how many of us there are ‘out there.’ Like her I have been a lifelong, very active, faithful member- holding many leadership callings (my husband, too.) I too lost my faith in the divinity of ‘inspired’ priesthood leaders. . .having a gay son was the start and seeing how the church actively worked against equality with Prop 8. Further ‘forbidden’ reading (I strongly recommend “Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith”) and struggles with polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, and women’s issues lead to my eventual departure.

  104. Tyson K
    August 8, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks Christine and John. This was extremely enjoyable and the insightful. So very happy your children are all with you in various stages and admire your courage to follow the truth wherever it leads. Your thoughts around priesthood blessings hit very close to home. Wishing you all the best.

  105. LiloD
    August 11, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I grew up in a Utah Mormon community about 5 years ahead of Christine Jeppsen Clark. Her descriptions of the roles and expectations of girls and women that existed in the Mormon culture, and also in the greater American culture, were very familiar to me. However, something that was not familiar was the statement she repeated many times through the podcast :”We do it because the Lord wants us to.” While it seemed to be almost a mantra of her family, I don’t remember my own parents ever saying anything like that. This isn’t to say that my parents didn’t think God was important, but rather that God is most pleased with us when we make decisions using judgment based on the best that we find inside ourselves, using rational thought, personal conscience, and the teachings about love that came from Christ. Our family accepted doubt and questioning as natural, rather than fearful, and from my youth, I knew I could choose which parts of the rhetoric, folklore and Sunday School lessons were believable. I’m sure that her family had higher status and confidence from the “brethren” than my family did. My father was a Sunday School teacher, not a Bishop. My mother directed the road shows, rather than leading the MIA. But I think it is interesting that, all these years later, Christine and her family have basically left the church, while I and my family are still in it. I stay in the church, not because I believe everything connected with it to be flawless and true, but because I find much there that makes me a better person.

    As I’ve heard many stories on this podcast and other places of people in faith crises, I’ve observed that those who have suffered the most are those who have had the most uncompromising testimonies. It reminds me of the old Chinese proverb ‘A tree that is unbending is easily broken in the buffetings of the wind’.

    Perhaps the future of the church depends not on families who teach uncompromising testimonies, but on families which allow openness and flexibility.

  106. Mike X
    August 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    This story spoke to my heart. Christine’s experience and thinking is similar to my own and it’s refreshing to hear such an articulate account. Thank you, John and Christine for supporting me mentally emotionally while I transition out of the Church

  107. Patt
    August 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you for your poignant discussions which I listened to in their entirety. I was especially moved by the final segment in which you grappled with a definition of Mormon doctrine, eventually coming to the conclusion that it was to obey church authority. When I realized how my mind and will were being forced into a mold many years ago, I decided to leave the Mormon church. It broke my heart to lose the church community in my life, but that was better than losing myself! Today, as I listened to your discussion, I really got it that the Mormon Church is a cult, a very subtle cult, with many positive qualities that attract those who long for community and the safety and surety of having ‘the truth.’ Cults rely on ‘the burning in the bosom’ for proof of the truth they preach. But this burning is only an illusion of confirmation. Reading descriptions of cult characteristics helped me to lay to rest this one last concern I have had about my departure from the Mormon church. It had troubled me for years. No longer. Peace and blessings to all who struggle with this!

  108. LizPK
    August 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I just want to say thank you to John for doing these interviews and sharing them. Found some of your videos on YouTube a couple weeks ago and they have given me a lot of hope and strength that I am not alone in this journey. Thank you Christine for sharing your story. I’m only 27, but grew up as a literal TBM. After years of doubts and struggling with a spouse that no longer believed, I finally got the courage to study Joseph Smith and church history a couple months ago and quickly discovered all of the truths that I had never learned while in church. Anyway, I recently told my parents that I no longer believe in Joseph Smith and can no longer trust church leaders. I am the 3rd of my 6 siblings to leave the church. My parents are still unyielding. Christine, your story gives me hope for my parents who are in their 50’s, and your story also resonated with me and my experiences while growing up in the church. Thank you so much for sharing.

  109. Rose
    August 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    This podcast really helped my Mom. She spent her life serving the church and raising 10+ kids in the gospel faithfully. She didn’t finish her college studies but devoted herself fully to raising a righteous family in the church for almost her whole life. This podcast was really encouraging to my Mom and I am sure it was to other older women who have found themselves out of the “religious-matrix” after a half century of complete devotion and at a time when they feel like most life opportunities have past them by! Thank you, thank you, thank you so, so, so much Christine Jeppsen Clark for doing this interview! God Bless~

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