653-656: Omar and Nancy Kader – The Journey of a Palestinian Boy Raised in Utah and His Amazing Wife

704433_10152433287165506_412561233_oDr. Omar Kader was born in Provo, Utah to Palestinian immigrants. HIs father was a devout Muslim and a disabled World War I vet who owned a successful Provo fruit farm. During Omar’s childhood he and his family were called the n-word by fellow Provoans, but fought to earn the respect of his community. Omar and his father were close friends of Dr. Hugh Nibley, who liked to practice his Arabic skills with Omar’s dad.

In this epic multi-part series, we hear several inspiring stories, including:

  • How Omar escaped Palestine after being sent back there by his father to prevent him from marrying a Utah woman.
  • How Dr. Hugh Nibley fought to help Omar enroll in Brigham Young University.
  • How Omar met, courted, and married his amazing wife Nancy – a brilliant Mormon girl from Ogden, UT (this courtship included his conversion to the LDS faith). We also touch on what it was like to enter into a multi-cultural marriage in Utah during the 1960s.
  • Omar’s draft into the Vietnam War (serving in Germany)
  • How Omar and Nancy risked expulsion from BYU for fighting against the Vietnam war and for supporting the BYU Student Democratic Party during the Earnest L. Wilkinson administration — and how Hugh Nibley came to their rescue.
  • Omar’s experiences obtaining a Ph.D. in International Relations at USC, along with his 10 year career at BYU wherein he faced both considerable racism and heroic support from certain BYU faculty and administrators.
  • Nancy’s work with the Democratic party in Utah, which included interactions with actor Robert Redford.
  • Omar’s decision to leave BYU and move to Washington D.C.
  • Omar’s work as a lobbyist for Arab-Americans, which included meetings with Yasser Arafat and King Hussein of Jordan.
  • The part Omar played in helping BYU obtain the land to build the BYU Jerusalem center, which he later grew to regret.
  • Omar’s scorching critiques of LDS apostles Ezra Taft Benson and Jeffrey R. Holland.
  • Omar’s work as a successful businessman in Washington D.C. against all odds as an Arab-American.
  • Nancy’s trial of faith after befriending Kate Kelly in her Virginia ward, and then watching her friend get excommunicated.
  • Where Omar and Nancy now stand with the LDS church, and with matters of faith.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Comments

comments

51 comments for “653-656: Omar and Nancy Kader – The Journey of a Palestinian Boy Raised in Utah and His Amazing Wife

  1. Scotty
    September 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    My father and Omar were friends. Dad was an academic and taught International Relations and other social studies courses at Utah Valley University, back then Utah Valley Community College. My father also was an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University were he met and became friends with Omar. My parents were Democrats, so Dad and Omar had much in common.

    I later attended BYU and majored in International Relations. Omar was a guest lecturer at some of my classes and at special lectures. I always found him fascinating and he gave the Arab / Palestinian perspective regarding Middle-East issues. I am progressive, so I never was offended by his views. But quite a few of my fellow students were. I remember hearing rumors that he was too liberal for BYU and the Brethren were going to fire him. I had a lot of respect for him and would defend him when I heard these rumors and gossip.

    It was so nice seeing Omar and his wife on this podcast. They both are such an enlightened couple and I’m happy they found their way out of the Church. I found out, a long time ago, that the Church is not a safe place for intellectuals. Intellectuals ask too many questions and most have a difficult time adhering the to cult of obedience that the Church demands of it’s members.

    Best of luck to the both of you.

  2. Steve
    September 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Lots of good quotes, from both of them. “They [the curch] are doubling down on stupid.” I should have written it down, but does anybody remember what Omar said about the church wanting to take away the right to be different (gay)? The way he put it was so succinct.

  3. Robert Hodge
    September 25, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    This an incredible interview. I don’t know how John could ever interview anyone to top this one. The Kaders lay bare the monumental hypocrisy of the current leaders of the Mormon Church. The keen insight of these two people, whether on the church or the problems of the Middle east or even current American politics is uniquely remarkable.

  4. Pete's Mom
    September 25, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Wow, what an exciting and ground breaking journey this couple has had and continues to enjoy. I loved hearing the mutual respect and camaraderie they clearly share. Thank you, John, for bringing their story and perspectives to light. I was at BYU as a student when Omar was teaching, wish we had met! Thank you to Nancy and Omar both for defending and defining what it means to be a true Christian/good person, and emphasizing the global import of being ethical and loving.

  5. beth
    September 26, 2016 at 3:10 am

    Thank you Omar and Nancy for a wonderful interesting interview, you were both great, l loved listening to you both, please Jon keep bringing on people such as these, they are so interesting and we all love to hear their stories, you should also talk again to historians such as grant palmer and historian dan vogel, it’s so good to understand all this information, keep up the good work Jon,

  6. Tad Norman
    September 26, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Omar,

    This was a delightful few hours for me as I listened to you and Nancy tell your unusual and impressive stories. I don’t know if you remember running with me and Don B. and Scott Z. back in your BYU days. I didn’t know much about you at the time but I do remember I always liked listening to your ideas and your humor. I was impressed then and am doubly impressed now. Best wishes to you and your family!

  7. Claudia
    September 26, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I’ve only gotten to the 49 minute mark of the first episode, but I had to pause it there simply to say that minute 49 will go down as my favourite Mormon Stories moment of all time. <3

    • Ron Madson
      September 30, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Yes, yes and yes. I agree. Love and pure love of Christ can’t be faked—it is real an authentic and transcends all creeds, religions and yes Mormonism. I descend from first/early mormon on all lines and yet my “bandwidth” kinship is not with what this church has become.

  8. Rebecca
    September 26, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Thank you Omar and Nancy for allowing us to learn a bit of your history! This was a great and very enjoyable interview. The Middle East is such a complex topic, especially the Palestinian issue. Combine that with being Mormon and I can understand much of what you had to say. (My husband is Palestinian too.) Would love to meet Omar and Nancy but have not had the pleasure. John, thank you so very much for these interviews! I do appreciate your work in sharing many aspects of Mormonism. Carry on!

  9. Paxton
    September 26, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Way to represent Ogden Nancy, I knew your mother, Mildred, as she was a neighbor to my wife’s grandparents who lived near her Ogden home. My wife still speaks highly of your mother and the love and compassion she extended to her grandparents. You come from good stock.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. Melissa Daams
    September 26, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Its interesting to hear that Hugh Nibley was a walking contradiction. I read that hit piece on No Man Knows My History and I thought, hmm, he is only condemning the author not what she said, so I sincerely did not believe him and would later go on to read No Man… and go through my own faith transition.

    It ‘s just interesting to hear some good things about Nibley.

  11. Neuquino
    September 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Great Interview! I’ve grown up in the church and never had a good perspective of what it’s like to be a Democrat/Liberal Mormon, so a lot of Omar’s perspective, especially on the political issues, was very eye opening! At one point he said being at church is like going to a republican meeting. You’re basically listening to republican doctrine, he said, and that’s never really occurred to me before. It’s very true, and the worst part is most members are unaware of it. It’s difficult to distinguish between republican values and church/gospel values.

    The church publicly says that the members have the freedom to choose their own side for political issues, but on the church level it’s more complicated than that. There’s almost no distinction among the church membership between doctrinal issues and political/social issues. To come out and voice a liberal opinion on gay rights, abortion, medicare/medicaid, marijuana legalization, almost anything against the republican values, would be considered opposition to the church to many church members. There needs to be a separation of the church from the republican party and a more freedom of speech when it comes to politics…but I doubt it’ll happen any time in the foreseeable future

  12. Carol
    September 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I absolutely love the Kaders and their story… Especially Nancy K. I, too, wonder why the women of the church haven’t been able to organize very well to protest gender inequality. But, I was there in SLC –trying to attend the Priesthood Holder sessions of GC with Kate Kelly (both times)… I know the resistance with which womens’ efforts are met.

    I also feel for LGBTQ+ and “unorthodox” members who feel marginalized, as I frquentlydo also. Thank you for sharing this story– There is something here for everyone who doesn’t fit the preferred Mormon mold.

  13. Amal Isa (Abukhdeir) from Chicago
    September 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I am Omar’s first cousin on the Muslim side (I actually just found out we were that close). This was great listening to and watching. I never knew Omar and I think I met him once in California.

    It is truly amazing hearing his story and his struggles growing up because my siblings and I experiences are/were very similar. I also admire his life and his journey through the Church, career paths, travels and his persistence!

    Thank you for sharing!

  14. Audri
    September 26, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this incredible interview! I was fortunate to intern for Omar in the early 2000s; he was fundamental at helping shift my world, political, and feminist views. Omar was the first person to help me consider “maybe I could/should do more than become a mother”. I’m well aware that as interns we did very little to benefit his company, but I am incredibly grateful for Omar’s willingness to allow naïve kids from Utah to come to DC and see a whole new world. He encouraged us to read both the Post and Times every morning; sent us (as republicans) to the Democratic National Convention to hear Madeleine Albright speak; sent us to the Black Caucus to open us to issues we had never considered; and let us spend our “work days” researching the middle east crisis and other issues that interested us and would take the time to meet with us and answer any questions we had. Thank you for your mentorship, and Thank you Nancy and Omar for sharing your story!

  15. Lynne
    September 26, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you John Dehlin! Mormon stories came at the right time for me, and stories like this one from good, faithful, intelligent members of the church and their various journeys are what made it possible for me to think for myself and do what was right for me.

    May I give some feedback that might help make your interviews more enjoyable for your listeners? I’m sure you are doing your very best and can’t help , because of your enthusiasm , constantly disrupting the flow of the story with incessant questions that so often break the momentum of the story and worse take it on a completely different track. Often the questions are about what date that happened etc., or which Beattle album you liked. And it’s not just talking over them and interrupting, it’s asking a question right after your guest has just explained the exact answer to the question you are asking, that reveals you are not listening to what they are telling you.

    I think that you are the perfect person to have created this amazing place for so many to go and the good that you do is incalculable. I’m being nit picky here because I sense that you are a person who cares deeply about doing what you do. I also expect that you will receive this in the spirit that it is intended.

    Thank you so much for finding these great people to share their stories!

  16. Brian
    September 26, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Great podcast series! Very interesting!

  17. Derek Larsen
    September 26, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I was very excited to listen to this four part Mormon Stories episode. I went to BYU an d lived and studied in Jerusualem during the time the BYU Jerusalem center was conceived and built. Later I returned to the Middle East to study Arabic and learn about Palestinian culture and history. I returned from the Arabic program deeply disturbed by the violence of the Intifadah which was being perpetuated on the palestinian people every day. However, I returned to BYU and we brought Omar in to speak to the community as I was a member of the Young Democrats and the Arab/Palestinian club. I liked Omar’s positive attitude and his progressive views and it gave me hope as a young mormon for the future. However, I left the church 19 years ago and listening to both of them share their insights has been such an enjoyable experience. I loved it and it opens up many critical questions particularly during such a time of racial injustice as well as ongoing war in the Middle East. I loved hearing about their careers, their passions and their ideas. They are both well read and thoughtful people who were way ahead of their time.

    I also loved their mentors: Ray Hillim was a great professor of mine at BYU and I studied under Martin H. at the Jerusalem Center. I love the radical humanism and the scientific approach they bring to life. Thanks for sharing your long and beautiful lives with Mormon Stories.

  18. Marc
    September 26, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you both very much for sharing your perspectives. Omar and Nancy, it was so nice to hear your life journey and especially through the vernacular of Arab and pioneer heritage. Fascinating. I find it disconcerting that as a lifelong member, I too, placed full trust in the church to speak policy on my behalf. As Omar explained, whether that policy was discriminatory and violated a person’s civil rights as blacks and the priesthood or the ERA movement, or the more recent bigoted stance the church took against homosexuals, violating their human rights. I am ashamed I was part of an organization for so long. I agree with Omar, that I was a co-conspirator. To allow such a few to speak for so many without debate nor consequence is irresponsible. They expect full and unquestioning loyalty and support. I believe what they will get instead is an ever shrinking yet more radical base as they double down on bigotry.

    The more people see behind the curtain, the worse it will be.

    Cheers.

  19. What a Journey!
    September 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Thank you very much, Omar and Nancy for this podcast. Your words about ETB really brought back memories for a now non-believer who has been married for 48 years to the same woman. And I was in my first year of college when JFK was shot and the Beetles were so popular., so we must be near the same age.

    While in high school living with my parents (Religion was a sore spot with my dad.) who were strong Democrats, I had a best friend whose parents were right wing Republicans and they introduced mt to the anti-communist movement through “None Dare Call It Treason”, by John Stormer. Through college I grew in my right wing sentiments, of course being for the Viet Nam War. I later flunked out by playing poker during finals week and eventually volunteered for the draft. I failed the physical and could not get to Fort Ord, California, so I returned to Washington and re-entered the university and I found my sweetheart and we moved to a teacher’s college in Washington and were married. Going to school I remained right wing and would often return home and get into political arguments with my dad, who was a great debater.

    After my first teaching position after graduating, my wife and I ended up in S.E. Idaho, in the heart of Mormon country. The people in this small rural community were so gracious and the circumstances leading up to my finding a job seemed to us to be God-caused, that we joined. Here I met up with a parent who even conservatives were troubled by due to his right wing extremism. He and I got along well! And then the 1970 general conference had Benson advocating that all members read four books and one was “None Dare Call It Conspiracy”. This parent had already filled me with more conspiratorial ideas such as the Illuminat,i League of Just Men, Rothchilds, and on and on and on, that I was thrilled hearing this talk. I even purchased a case of those books and would take them on trips during summers. Before I left this area, I even became a chapter leader of “The John Birch Society”. And I still supported the Viet Nam War.

    After I left Idaho and returned to Washington, I continued with the JBS, writing letters to elected officials and reading more books that talked of world conspiracies run by Satan. In one conservative area, my stake president even got me to show Benson filmstrips in stake priesthood meetings. In this area I went to Skousen firesides which were filled with politics (Republican, of course.) At that time Skousen had an organization which informed good right-wingers of the “Bilderbergers” and “The Tri-lateral commission, so of course I was a member of that also.

    My wife and I were visiting a member of our ward one day, when news came to us about a “secret” meeting to be held in Ellensburg, Washington. It was to be the Washington conference of the ERA and it was called for the next day, I think. The word went out to all Christian conservative women in the state, but of the 5000 women who showed up, 4500 were LDS. I even asked to go and my wish was granted. It would take many more years before I would be ashamed of my opposition of that conference and of that proposed amendment.

    I remained very much republican until I voted for Nixon. That was to become the last time I ever voted by party. I was still a right wing but had no allegiance to a party.

    Still moving around some, we remained conservative and got in trouble a few times by using Bensons words in sacrament talks or priesthood lessons. Finally we ended up in Idaho, but this time to an area that seemed to be rather infamous in the Church and in many political circles. While here, I met Bo Gritz and Randy Weaver. I was finally in my element and Mormons were pouring into the area in droves. People in and out of the Church were into this Global Conspiracy idea. Residents were continually watching for “black helicopters” and U.N. troops in blue helmets. This was one of the few counties in America that had no building permits. At one meeting of armed and un-armed citizens, I watch a resident slap down a noose in front of a panel of county commissioners. As a President Benson right wing- Book of Mormon- Gadianton robber-s extremist, I was loving this. Later the area became somewhat infamous for polygamy.

    But gradually over ten to fifteen years, things calmed down, and I began reading some of the literature found in the homes of some of active Mormons who were a bit on the edge, and I began to wonder about a few things. We even came across the Maclean podcast on Mormon Stories and I remember warning my daughter in an eastern Idaho town to watch out because Satan was working hard. But that podcast kept bothering me. Then I found and read many Snuffer books, but his “Passing The Heavenly Gift” REALLY bothered me. I finally came across MormonThink, and my shelf began really straining. At first I hesitated but finally I read all I could and the day my wife and I read about the witnesses seeing the plates with their “spiritual” rather than their physical eyes, we stopped attending.

    I began watching many online movies and documentaries on communism and how our good Republican leaders used wars as an excuse to build up our military-industrial complex, and I remembered all of what this truly inspired??? man of God, Ezra Taft Benson said in support of what leaders were doing. I learned more why people wanted to keep going to war and who was benefiting by it. My right-wing extremism really fell when I looked up the word “conspiracy” on line and saw all those many conspiracies that had come and gone during my lifetime and we never saw the end of the world. So now I am a secularist and a supporter of Bernie Sanders, leaning toward libertarian. Sorry to be so long. Thanks John for having these fine people on.

  20. Leslie
    September 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I could listen to these two talk forever. Their story was fascinating. I also want them to adopt me. I am 35 years old. Is it too late??

  21. Holly
    September 27, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Inspiring! Yes. My favorite too.

  22. Amy Cannon
    September 27, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I have heard wonderfully glowing stories about the Kader family my whole life. One of Omar’s brothers was my dad’s best childhood friend, and the Kaders left a lasting impact on my dad and family. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of this interview. I would have liked to hear about Omar’s siblings, if they ended up joining the LDS church, and how they managed to reconcile their cultural heritage with where they grew up. Thank you to Omar and Nancy for telling your stories, and to John for making it possible. This was an amazing perspective to hear. The church really loses when people like Omar and Nancy leave.

  23. Jay P
    September 28, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Great interview and very Inspiring.

  24. Garret
    September 28, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Great interview full of interesting stories. I have fun memories of Omar and Nancy from when I was in their ward as a little kid–Nancy playing the piano in primary and playfully telling me the answers to questions being asked by the teacher so I would seem smart, and Omar announcing from the podium that a farewell party for a family in the ward was “an opportunity to get kicked in the shins one last time” by the tantrum-prone son in the family. Good people.

  25. Nancy
    September 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Best episode I’ve heard. I really enjoyed it.
    Even though I attended the Y about 10 years later than you two, it brought back many memories of the place. Ha ha I remember the church leaders saying we shouldn’t watch Dr Zvagio because it was about adultery (in their mind) . But there was no way I was going to miss that movie because Omar Sharif was in it! 😉

    • Q
      September 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Funny, I watched Dr. Zhivago while at BYU with my roommates because it was assigned for their Russian literature class, so I guess attitudes may have progressed (just slightly).

  26. Q
    September 28, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Amazing and fascinating story. I really appreciated the inclusion of a discussion on current geopolitics. Omar knows the middle east much better than I ever will and has interacted with the people there, so I value hearing his frank analysis of where things stand now.

  27. AG
    September 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    What a great couple, such an insightful interview! Thanks John for having them on, I learned so much!

  28. david
    September 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Congratulation Jonh Delin, this may be your BEST interview. Michael Coe was fabulous as was Tom Philips and many other interviews you have done !!!!!!!!!! I was at BYU in 1968, by 1970 I was in the military stationed in Viet Nam. Omar is probably a year or two older than me, his story is absolutely fascinating. I must say Hugh Nibley has regain some respect after hearing Omar talk about him. I had at least 1 class from Nibley while at BYU. But much later when I learned what a hack he was in defending BOA, I lost ALL respect for HN.

    JD, please more interview like this !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Henning
    September 29, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Thank you for sharing your stories! My shelf broke when I realized that the Church leaders were not proclaiming God’s will but were simply pushing a right-wing conservative world view. I did not want to be associated with that. Although it is obvious to me now, you have confirmed that assesment for me and again validated my decission to disassociate from them. Thank you and all the best to you!

  30. September 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

    My first semester after my mission I took a class from Omar (International Relations 101) in 1975—his first semester teaching at BYU. I have referred to him and that class the rest of my life when I speak about what it means to really open one’s mind and consider challenging your own narrative politically, philosophically and even one’s religion. Omar in a very kind and yet persuasive way invited us to think and and have enough empathy for humanity to consider alternative points of view. But Omar was the exception and not the rule at BYU.

    I really appreciate many things I heard during these four hours—particularly Omar’s comments about “kinship” with authentic good people.

  31. Brittany
    September 30, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Really wonderful interview. There were a lot of statements that stood out to me but the part where Omar said (paraphrasing) “it is not in our heritage to be silent” was particularly insightful.

    Best of luck to Nancy and Omar. Thank you for sharing your story.

  32. Lori
    September 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Thank You Omar and Nancy. Listening to your story has been wonderful. I appreciate your insight into the problems of the Middle East. I’ve always wondered about the real story with Israel. It has never seemed fair to me. I’ve been reading more about the politics for the last 6 months.
    I’m very happy that you have stopped going to church. I resigned in November. My teenage daughter came out to me and although I haven’t attended in many years, that was it for me. I am very glad I didn’t raise her in that environment. Unfortunately, we live in Utah County. My elderly parents need to be taken care of. I have been nominated. To be fair, I’m the nurse in the family, so, it’s sort of my job.

    Thank you again, you give me hope

  33. Bliss Doubt
    October 1, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Wonderful journey with the Kaders through a world that changes as much as it remains the same. I have observed in American Muslim friends a distinctive kind of humor based on the ironic potential of the truth of a matter. I heard strains of that humor in the stories of Kader’s life, especially highlighted in his efforts to get contracts for his work. You could see that same strain of humor in the recounting of his father’s approach to life.

    While I enjoyed hearing Mr. Kader’s take on current affairs in the middle east, I detest the use of drones. I won’t say anything more than that particularly, but I did come to understand better the viewpoints of some of the people in my own orbit.

    Anyway, thank you for the extensive interview. I enjoyed every minute. Has John Dehlin gotten like fifteen webby awards yet?

  34. Marilyn
    October 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I could not pull myself away from this until I had watched all 4 segments. It was absolutely fascinating. Love this couple. Such fun and intelligent people. Love the discussion about the inner workings of the church and BYU in the 50s, 60s, 70s And beyond. As well as their personal back stories, Omar’s comments on the Middle East and Nancy’s commentary on the church and women’s issues. Thank you so much for doing this.

  35. October 2, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    This interview is fantastic!

    Just to clarify, Nancy mentions me in Segment 4 & I think she misspoke. I am not now, nor have I ever been a Libertarian. GOD NO. I think she meant Independent, because I was not a registered Democrat at the time, even though I came to all the Mormon Democrat parties Omar & Nancy used to throw.

    They are AMAZING people filled with so much integrity & love. But, yeah, I’m not a Libertarian.

  36. Bob
    October 4, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I have only listened to Part I of the Omar Kader podcast but I am having a hard time taking Mr. Kader seriously. Like his friend, Hugh Nibley, Mr. Kader likes to play loosey goosey with the truth.

    In the first 30 minutes alone of Part I, Kader says the following outlandish things:

    1. He says that the definition of “jihad” that the world recognizes is a myth perpetrated by Fox News. Sources, Mr. Kader?

    2. He says that Ezra Taft Benson was no more a Christian than Adolf Hitler. Come on! Although most of us are not fans of ETB, his statement is ridiculous on its face.

    3. He says that Donald Trump called Barack Obama a “nigger.” This is clearly a lie, and there is absolutely zero evidence of this. If this were true, don’t you think that the media would be all over it? After all, the media IS all over the numerous other outrageous and insulting things Trump has said. Sources, Mr. Kader?

    4. While extolling the virtues of Islam, Kader repeatedly calls Mormons “barbarians” for how they treat gays and women. Yes, that may be true, yet he does not mention how Islam really oppresses women and kills gays. After all, Islam treats women and gays much, much worse than Mormons. Why the double standard, Mr. Kader?

    It is apparent to me that Mr. Kader has a real chip on his shoulder — so much so that he has to spin false narratives in order to make a point.

    • Free but still struggling
      October 4, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      You folks may talk about the brutality of Islam, but it has a ways to go to catch up with Christians. I am currently reading “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, an Indian History or the American West.” and I can only read a few pages at a time before all the blood and gore is too much for me and I have to do other things. I just read where American cavalry shot 900 Indian horses in the head and left them on the prairie. Yesterday I read of the battle at Sand Creek, where soldiers pull off the arms of the little kids, and cut off the private parts of the women and hung them on their saddles, and how children’s fingers were cut off for souveneirs. One hundred fifty Indians were slaughtered. Before that at another place 278 Indians were slaughtered. And most of this was done because of Manifest Destiny–the killers knew they were doing right because God was on their side. This is by far the most difficult book I have ever read. I checked it out at our public library as one of the books that had been banned in many parts of the U.S. Yes, some Muslims are vicious people, but no more than Americans who believed that they were a part of a Christian nation. And I assume Mormons want to be classified as Christians.

      And when you talk of Muslims killing gays, where do you think that idea came from? Maybe you need to read the Old Testament. And don’t Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God? And Joseph Smith did not re-translate those parts.

      Hitler was also a Christian. His elite troops had on their belts, “God With Us.” I gained a lot of hatred by following Benson.

      There may have been things said about Trump that do not apply to him, but we will be in deep trouble if he makes it in. Hillary may continue our road to deep socialism, but Trump will take us to was with anyone he gets mad at.

      Good interview Omar!! Keep up the good work. Never be intimidated by those who fail to read history. One thing that the John Birch Society promoted that was worthwhile was, “Those who don’t read are no better off than those who can’t read. Read your history, Bob!

    • matty
      October 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      some of your concerns may be cleared up as you continue on

  37. Amira
    October 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

    LOVE this interview! Kader seemed like such a familiar name to me and I couldn’t remember why. Then I remembered that in 2008 I found the “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour” and heard one of the comedians (Aron Kader) mention that his dad was Palestinian and his mom was Mormon and I thought, “Man, I’d love to hear that story!” AND NOW I GOT TO HEAR THAT STORY! What a fantastic interview with fantastic people. Wish I had moved to DC a decade ago so I could discuss Middle Eastern politics with Omar and Nancy. Truth be told, I did not realize how bigoted Mormons could be until I began studying Middle Eastern Studies at BYU and would come home, awash in the glory that is the beautiful heritage, history, language, and complex political situation that is the Middle East, only to have everyone in my ward ask me, “Why would you study that? Those A-rabs are terrible .” And then they would proceed to give me a Fox News run down of the Middle East. It completely perplexed me that people I had known to be otherwise kind, giving people would hold such strong opinions about a group of people they had literally never met. I spent many a Sunday walking out of lessons because of the bigoted discussion surrounding Israel/Palestine and the erasure of Palestinian identity. This was probably the first serious crack in my shelf that eventually led to many others. Anyhow, can we all sup at the table of the Kaders? I could listen for even longer!

  38. Douglas Traywick Jr
    October 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Omar!
    You inspired me and were my mentor in Young Democrats BYU. You always found a way to present an alternative voice in that desert of ultra-right censorship. I still firmly support the Palestinian cause because of you.

    I needed your help my third year when I was suspended for circulating a petition demanding bail for Angela Davis. I think you were at U of U in SLC at that time. That was later in ’71 or ’72 but glad to get away from there anyway.

    BYU removed “suspension” from my official transcript and changed it to “withdrew”. They are really afraid to be seen as abrogating First Amendment rights though I suppose they can remove anybody they want as private school.

    I found a wonderful obituary of mutual friend Wayne Holley of Mapleton, Utah, 90+ years and champion of union labor and socialism to the end. I never can find anything on another fellow traveller, Peace and Freedom Party activist Hans Hart of Springville. I remember Wes Shook was quite active.

    Thanks for your support of human rights. I am here with my partner for 40 years in Oklahoma City and we can finally marry.

    I never was “LDS.” My folks were converts and tried to teach me but I could see right through it at the age of 10 just like Nancy says your 10 year old son questioned what was said in those ridiculous talks. BYU was NOT on my list EVER, but I received a very large academic scholarship to the Y, so against my own self interest, off I went.

    I was glad to hear you and your wife have grown away from all that oppression. What a wonderful life, a glorious family history. Nice. Best wishes.

    Doug Traywick,
    Oklahoma City

  39. Emma
    October 4, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    John you are amazing at finding such incredible people and as always you have a great interview skills to get to the meat of the story
    They have such incredible integrity and courage intelligence all wrapped together with compassion! totally awesome people I think Nancy’s reluctance to leave the church is very common especially for those raised in the Utah culture it is hard to let go of your community of friends that have come to be like family —even when you know the church is not true –but now that her family is raised she and Omar can create a life without the church

    With all Omar’s experience in politics It would every interesting if He could take a closer look at Joseph smith and some of his ideas — and how it would’ be viewed today–politically–like the united order, the failed bank, the city military, polygamy as non traditional marriage and sexual freedom, , control of the media, mayor of the town, head of the military,being designated king of the world, his plan to take over cities and even create his own country, encouraging women to use ‘gods power to give blessings,
    Church control and ownership of peoples property(navou), Interactions/attitude with the blacks and Indians ,Danite enforcers who were spies and hitmen etc, —he seemed very liberal in some ways and yet almost dictatorial in others ? where would Joseph smith fit in our political ideas today
    It seems his desire for power was unlimited
    Omar if you would please take the time to study jjosephs political ideas and comment in a future podcast– or now if you feel you can
    I don’t understand why we don’t talk more about JS political ideas—and how different the church stands today

  40. RW
    October 5, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Without question my favorite Mormon Stories episode ever. Usually, I find myself wishing for editing on these, but this episode I wish there’d been more. Having spent a semester in the Jerusalem Center, and realizing that what we saw on the news, and heard in church was far from the truth, I became pro-Palestinian. So nice to hear someone put the conflict in real terms, and give the real story- it’s heartbreaking that so many people misunderstand the situation.

    My favorite part of the series was when discussing people wanting to help the church from within, Omar saying something like ‘they aren’t asking for help’ Ain’t that the truth….I sometimes think people could do more good from within the church than I’m doing having left it behind, but that hits the nail on the head- they aren’t asking for help. Somehow they think they’re doing well. Tragic.

    Please more like this!!!

  41. Lois
    October 10, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    I just finished watching all four episodes with these wonderful, intelligent, knowledgeable people, the Kaders. I love these people! I have learned so much. Thank you, John Dehlin, for bringing people with this level of knowledge, depth, understanding and wisdom into my awareness, and into my living room. I’ve always wanted to learn as much as I can, but it has always been frustrating to me that there has been such a dearth of people with good ideas and intelligence in my experience. Not too long ago I found Mormon Stories, and they have been are are very helpful to me. I left the Mormon church in 2005; life is just opening up to me more and more each day. Thank you, John, Omar and Nancy! These were the best!

  42. marianna blake taylor
    October 10, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Dear John, Omar and Nancy,

    Thank you for sharing your remarkable journey. My husband and I were both a BYU during this time period. Although always democrats and aware of many of the oppressive policies on campus, we truly were mostly clueless. It was not until years later, as I was completing a master’s degree and began to study women’s issues, then history, that the truth began to set me free. In reconstructing the things I had been taught, I built a sense of self I had never known I had as a Mormon woman. Nancy, I especially related to you when you pointed out the obvious that the Black and Gay issues in the church seem far more important than any women’s issues! I 100 percent agree with you and it causes me so much frustration to watch for women to even make the all male authorities radar screens. I know I have mentioned this to John before, but it seems so incredible to me that women’s issues effect over half of the members of the church in comparison the other issues are small percentages. I would love to meet you someday!
    As I watch the last revelation on Donald Trumps character as a sexual predator and assaulter, I am wondering if you, Nancy, and Omar have any suggestions about how to keep this front page news. If it has the life span of most bombshells about women’s issues it will fade quickly. I would like to do whatever I can to keep this front page news.
    Thank you John, for continually looking for the good we can be doing.

  43. Debbie Hoad
    October 11, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    John, usually I find the interviews very long (not a criticism – I suspect it wouldn’t be so if I was transitioning out of the church, but with so many years behind me, I often want to skip all the stuff that verifies that people used to be TBMs, as I just assume that was the case with most anyway). But holy moley, I could have easily enjoyed double the amount of interview time with these two. So fascinating in every aspect. There’s an article they refer to several times (as having written) – where is that to be found?

    P.S. Has Omar not been catching any sun the last few years? Having listened to (not watched) the interviews and heard about the racism he experienced, I was most surprised to get here and find him so pale. 🙂 I would not have realised he was an Arab.

  44. October 11, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I LOVED this episode! Is it just ’cause these two are so like-able? Is it because of the no nonsense, no “nuance” way the see and explain things? Please have these guys on again!

  45. Carla M
    October 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Fascinating interview, full of interesting insights and personal experiences. This is the kind of interview that first drew me to Mormon Stories podcasts years ago.

  46. Jeff H.
    October 20, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I was in YM with their son Jake – played on the same ward basketball team. Great kid and great family. Wish the Kaders well.

  47. JW
    October 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Nancy and Omar, I have listened to your entire podcast several times and find it fascinating. So much of what was said reasonates with me. I was at the Y from 79-83, but don’t recall your name. I do remember the exact spot I was standing in the library when a friend was warning us about ‘philosophy majors’ and how they end up leaving the church! He was dating a girl at the time studying this and we all looked over at her with pity! How ridiculous!! I also remember knowing about the experiments on gay students. One of the guys in Deseret Towers jumped from the top of the building our freshman year and we all knew why, but didn’t discuss it. So much secrecy and shame. Unbelievable to be in an atmosphere like this under the guise of education and truth. Thank you for your powerful thoughts and information. It helps to hear from people who can put into words how we feel. “Bifurcated, schizophrenic… Indeed!! Best to you both!

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