647: Missionaries Pt. 5: Rose Sorenson – Becoming an Atheist as a Missionary

IMG_7582RoseSorensonMishRose Sorenson was raised in a devout LDS household (Idaho Falls, ID), but began having doubts as a 12 year old. Although she continued to struggle with perfectionism and doubts as a teenager, Rose decided that the LDS church’s decision in 2013 to lower the missionary age for women was a “sign” that she should serve a mission to strengthen her testimony.

She served in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission from March 2013 to August 2014.

After a year of struggling with her testimony, including bouts of depression and anxiety — and after reading the Book of Mormon four times without receiving a spiritual witness that the book was true — Rose decided that she was an atheist, but remained determined to complete her mission.

This is Rose’s story.

Comments

comments

66 comments for “647: Missionaries Pt. 5: Rose Sorenson – Becoming an Atheist as a Missionary

  1. Trieste
    August 23, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Holy guacamole, John, the self-important, well-intentioned fools that threw you off the Good Ship Zion have probably been regretting their myopia ever since. Would you ever have seen fit to interview someone so delightfully self-aware and cheerfully sure than the LDS church is bogus before you were heaved off the ship? Remarkably, Rose exemplifies the best of Jesus Christ in her love of serving other and her willingness to think and act for herself. A boatload of joy to you, Rose. Keep making the world a better place.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      John really is an amazing person who is doing great work. It was an honor to speak with him today and contribute to this important community. Thank you for complimenting what I had to say today.

      • Pasture Dave
        September 26, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Thanks Rose. You are an inspiration to us all. Many are coming home as non-believers. The church is losing some of its best and brightest members. Thanks again. (I love your smile) . . . . . . Pasture Dave (I’ve been put out to pasture . . . ex-Mormon Bishop)

  2. August 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Great interview Rose and John. I think Rose is amazing. She smiled the entire time. “No more Mormon guilt.” Being blissfully happy is the very best revenge.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 23, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments Sue. It was an honor to share a story I am so genuinely excited to tell.

  3. Christopher Taylor
    August 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Sounds so familiar. My story is similar. I had very few doubts before entering the mission field. I was steeped in Mormon apologetics (especially Hugh Nibley’s writings) and was eager to serve. My doubts started after going through the temple and culminated in my complete loss of faith one year into my mission. I completed my time to save face with my family, but once my mission was over, I never went back to church. I’ve been a happy atheist ever since (more than 20 years now).

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      It’s so nice to hear of someone else sticking out their mission despite their contrary beliefs. I also had a really hard time in the temple. I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable and all sorts of other negative emotions most of the time. Congrats on finding your own path!

  4. Anna
    August 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Oh my heck John, this missionary series is AWESOME. Thanks Rose, I loved hearing your story. I’ve always considered myself an intelligent, questioning person, yet it took me 35 years to figure out the church is not true, so it just blows me away and makes me a little jealous that others are wise enough to figure it out so young. Hope you have a wonderful road ahead of you Rose.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      I thought I was slacking because it took me most of my mission to come to a firm conviction that the church wasn’t true. Anyone thinking for themselves and discovering their own beliefs is an important journey that is far from easy.

  5. Donna Ryan
    August 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Rose, I appreciated your wisdom and integrity. I think I bore many testimonies that were just rambling thoughts about my life, which heavily involved the Mormon Church, since my life for many years was centered around it. And the guilt!! About never, ever being “good enough”. I spent 17 years as an “active” Mormon, having converted at the age of 21. Perhaps because I knew God and Jesus pre-Mormon, I have never felt the need to give up on Christianity just because Joseph Smith was a liar, adulterer, cheater, etc. After a little “shopping around,” I found my way back to the United Methodist Church, of which I have been an active member for a long time. I just hate that Joseph Smith poisoned the water for so many people like you who can’t find Jesus in other Christian churches. Maybe it’s an age thing, because all five of my children have absolutely no use for Christianity. Thanks for your candor.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      The Mormon Church can certainly leave a person bitter towards all religion. Although, in my case, I spent the time on my mission to go to lots of different bible studies. I considered converting to a different religion after I got home but realized that none of them would allow me the freedom to follow my own conscience and have a completely open life path. There are a lot of admirable aspects in many religions and I am glad you found one that makes you happy. Thank you for sharing your insights and I’m glad you enjoyed my story.

  6. Donna Ryan
    August 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Dear John, Thank you, thank you, thank you for “Mormon Stories Podcast” and your many efforts to inform and enlighten.

    • Jazzy
      August 24, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Yes,this missionary series is awesome! Thanks for sharing rose. So young–so wise and self aware. John, can you interview carol Lynne Pearson about her book ghost of eternal polygamy. Doug fabrizio was only able to scratch the surface with his limit of 50 minutes

  7. Zola Jensen
    August 23, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Rose! I am so proud of you for researching, thinking for yourself and being brave enough and love yourself enough, to find truth. I have always loved who you were. As your past teacher, I always knew you were smart and kind women. I am so happy for you and your personal liberation. You are an amazing woman.

  8. Brittany
    August 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    John, please interview LDS Anarchists Facebook group members Max Hill, Geoffrey Macintire, Skyler J. Collins, Von Fugal, or any of them really. As anarchists, they were able to question a system of authority causing pain and grief in their lives and the lives of others. This could be a great resource and useful tool for many people within the LDS spectrum who like Rose could have questions or doubts but be unable to voice them. This could be the way for some to speak about their doubts in safe way. Not to mention LDS Anarchism is in and of itself a fascinating topic and could provide thousands of hours of podcast material.

  9. Xposit
    August 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Awesome work John! You continue to provide a marvelous work and a wonder for the latest generation of disillusioned Mormon youth! Thanks for sharing your story Rose. You’ll never know how many others you’re going to help.

  10. Peter
    August 23, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks, Rose, for your story. It is amazing to me to see how quickly people like you are figuring things out, and it is refreshing to see your unapologetic abandonment of what you found to be untrue and how seamlessly you have integrated into your new belief system. It’s obvious from your radiant smile that leaving the church has been a marvelous work and a wonder for you! It took me a bit longer. I grew up in a faithful mormon family, served a two-year mission, taught and served in leadership positions at the MTC for another two years while I attended BYU, served on the stake high council, and did a 5-year stint as bishop of my ward as well as many other callings before I made my change. Exiting the church has been an exciting journey for me, too, one that I never imagined taking for most of my life. Differently from you, I had a rock-hard testimony of the gospel and experienced countless powerful faith-building moments. Practically all of my friends were LDS, among whom are many mission presidents, temple presidents, and general authorities. But like you, once I understood that what I had believed my whole life to be true was an illusion, I had to act on my conscience and could never look back, regardless of cost. Like you I have only felt great happiness in this new stage of clarity and understanding; life is better, I find the world more interesting and rich, and I know that I am living a much truer, better life outside of the church than I ever could have inside. I am unrepentantly and proudly an atheist and I hope to undo some of the damage that I unwittingly did by causing so many to believe what I now don’t. Congratulations and good luck!

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      It’s so great hearing from other people with similar stories. Finding clarity is an amazing feeling. It is a hard journey to get there, but the end result is priceless. I too feel a need to undo some of the damage I did in misrepresenting my true feelings and beliefs.

  11. Eric
    August 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Rose, taking on the atheist label with such confidence gives me renewed hope and determination. It is amazing how much hate, fear, confusion, rejection and pity is often directed at those that declare atheist best describes their world view. I am also an atheist! I have yet to have one family member or friend understand my position.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Well now you have someone that can understand your position as an atheist!

  12. Bill
    August 24, 2016 at 6:06 am

    As a guy that also went to BYU, I would have loved meeting someone like Rose. I did meet one my second year at BYU and she showed me how incredible a strong-willed, smart woman could be. I eventually married one (the first “dear johned” me, to no big surprise). I did eventually get in contact with that woman again and she got me thinking about things and I left the church eventually.

    I appreciate the honesty that people eventually find and how it changes their lives.

  13. August 24, 2016 at 7:38 am

    This is the source of the “neutral ground doctrine”:

    “Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.” —Joseph Smith, as quoted by Daniel Tyler, in “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, Aug. 15, 1892, pp. 491–92

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you so much for finding this source!!! I have looked for the direct off and on but since I got rid of my BOM manual from BYU I haven’t been able to.

      • August 24, 2016 at 4:29 pm

        No problem. I remember reading it on my mission, coincidentally, and that Joseph Smith had said it, so it didn’t take too much sleuthing to find.

  14. August 24, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Great interview! I particularly was touched by Sarah’s example; what a kindhearted individual.

    Thanks for sharing your insightful experience, Rose, and good luck in your new path.

  15. Erin
    August 24, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Greetings from your old mission! You are a beautiful soul Rose. I don’t think our paths ever crossed when you were in our area but if you ever want to visit buggy, humid north Atlanta again, you are totally welcome to stay at this apostate’s house. Best wishes in your journey.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Such a shame we didn’t meet in the good old south!

  16. Emma
    August 24, 2016 at 8:47 am

    John thank you for sharing their stories but for me I think it is really important to know more about the issues, history and doctrine that caused the missionaries to lose their testimonies
    The shock the pain the struggle of coming to terms with the facts
    I’m especially interested in how the history of the church especially Joseph Smith affected their choices
    What specifically caused doubt
    often we talk about the feelings and the process but not as much about the facts about the church that determined the decisions
    I think knowing the determining facts makes it more clear why the missionaries did what they did
    Every day I have to remind myself of the very disturbing facts that have caused me to determine the church is not true
    And in my situation has caused a lot of ongoing pain

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      The doctrine and issues that caused me to leave are a huge part of my story. There were/are a lot of issues that fueled my unbelief. It has been a while since I thought about these issues extensively, but I’ll include a quick list of things that bothered me here. I had troubles with the “doctrine of neutral ground” which I briefly mentioned in the interview and someone so kindly posted above. I also didn’t agree with the churches stance on the LGBTQ community. How could an organization that claims such an emphasis on agency and love be acting in such a contrary way. The Book of Mormon was inconsistent in how it referred to the trinity and/or godhead. I could go on for a long time, but I should probably stop before I got myself all worked up haha. Thanks for asking though!

  17. Dave
    August 24, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I began my mission in April 1987 and I came home October 1987. I committed no sin, I simply hated being on a mission. However, I never doubted the church nor my testimony, that came later in life.
    For years, I suffered pain and anguish because I thought God would hold me responsible. Yet, I was married in the temple, children born in the covenant. But it was a mistake for me to go and I really think it is almost abusive to push, almost force young people to serve missions.
    Love Mormon Stories. Been here since the start.

    • glenn
      August 24, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Amen the that Dave !!!

      • Dave
        August 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

        Hey mormon stories been my staff and stay over the years. It’s a library of valuable content.
        I still regard myself as a Christian. When I left the church, I couldn’t see the point of smoking or drinking or cheating on my wife, so i haven’t done any of those things. Consequently i’m still a Mormon of record, but fail to see any truth in the church at all. (And I can refer to dozens of mormon Story Episodes to support my case). I have been very vocal about my objection to Mormonism.
        Elder Uchtdorf even invited me to write to him and I still have his reply to my letter. I was kind when I wrote to him. And I told him that the Book of Mormon is not a historical document, but perhaps there is a case for regarding it as an inspired allegory. Elder Uchdorf replied and told me I had a ‘greater understanding of the gospel’, so was he agreeing with me???

        • August 25, 2016 at 8:36 am

          Really, Dave? That’s quite interesting. I’d love to see a copy of that letter. 🙂

          • Dave
            August 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm

            Would be happy to scan it in somewhere.

          • August 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm

            Dropbox and Scribd are great products for uploading documents for free. 🙂

        • Glenn
          August 25, 2016 at 8:59 am

          Dave
          I was a missionary from 1985 to 1987 so we are close in age.( I almost took the car at my first transfer and left, wish I had had your guts, but I wanted to believe it was my hole identity ) I would say that staying on a mission and getting my full measure of abuse at the hands of the church started me down the path of leaving the church, I later formally resigned. I guess I went further of the reservation than you : ) I’m probably still more black and white right and wrong than is smart( I was seldom smart enough to lie like Rose) For me the church is worthless( and I think it’s worthless for everyone ). The lies mixed in with occasion good advice and good intentions are meaningless at best and destructive long term. It’s the implication that the leaders talk directly to God so you have to comply along with the culture of using the mood ring of prayer to make your life decisions that makes it a no go to me. I now make my decision using data and of course the magic 8 ball. Have a great day Dave and just in case you still have residual guilt for leaving as a former missionary and District leader I salute you !!!
          P.S.
          I think Rose was smarter than us both her path out was quicker and less painful

          • Dave
            August 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm

            Thanks Glenn. I agree with you totally. I see no truth in the church at all. I see no Christ. I see little Christlike qualities.
            Jesus would invite everyone of all creeds and colour to follow him regardless of their views to come to him.
            Leaving the mission wasn’t difficult because I found it so traumatic. Being home was tough. I was the only person I knew who had done this and I suffered for it. It took my mother years to forgive me. I think she regarded me as a failure. Tried to make up for it by being a straight down the line tbm. Please don’t forget that I believed in the church hook, line and sinker, even though I was unhappy, carried a burden of guilt.
            I was serving on the branch presidency when I suffered my faith crisis in mid 90s. It caused huge, emotional earthquakes within my family.
            In fact, Tom Phillips was my Stake President.

  18. Carl
    August 24, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I never got an answer, despite trying many times, like Rose. I read No Man Knows My History a few months before my mission, and it kind of confirmed some of my suspicions. When I mentioned my doubts to my mission president, he specifically said to never talk about them with any other missionaries. I made the mistake of telling my first companion, and he was mad at me for the rest of our time together. It did cause me some anguish to have to preach something that I wasn’t convinced of, but I don’t have the personal integrity that Rose had, so I just kept at it. I even went back to BYU afterward and had a good time, for the most part. I fit in well with the church socially, so it’s not too bad for me to be a member.

    I am wondering what other people think about this, but I doubt that guys didn’t want to date her because she was unconventional and liked to do outdoor activities like snowboarding. It seemed like an extremely large percentage of guys at BYU loved girls like that.

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      I’m so sorry you had to deal with keeping your secret from companions like I did. Also, to clarify I did have a boyfriend in Salt Lake and UVU for a while. So maybe I didn’t make as much of an effort with the BYU boys as I could have.

  19. Elder Olddog
    August 24, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I didn’t listen to the tape. I’m way too busy being a thorn in the side of la iglesia mormona. I just wanted to boast that I, too, became a mormon-atheist while a missionary. I finished the mission as a mormon tourist. Back then, 50 years ago, as long as you kept your nose clean they didn’t bother you. I think it was also because my MP was a rational human being. I understand that such individuals no longer called as MPs.

    I used the term mormon-atheist because while I didn’t believe in the existence of a deity, the only thing I knew how to be, was mormon. And 50 years ago, that was quite edifying and enticing, what with Road Shows and Gold & Green Balls and Tuesday MIA, and being treated like humans, versus like sheep…

    I really haven’t evolved far from my tribal roots; I liked being a mormon. But I don’t think I’d like it now. Of course back then, all the bullcrap surrounding the foundational truths of mormonism weren’t available. Had I had access back then to what is available now, I probably wouldn’t have gone on a mission, much less to the Y, and married badly in a short five months.

    I had a number of companions who obviously weren’t buying what the church was selling, but going on a mission is what young mormon men, whether they want to or not. And that’s not likely to change.

    For the person who asked about incidents that help fuel the sundering of ‘belief’, here are a couple of mine:

    My first greenie and I tracted out a lady who said she was interested in hearing more, and could we come back in the evening when her husband was home… We said sure, and then uttered the appropriate ‘wow, it’s a miracle’ phrases. We arrived that evening and met her husband and their evangelical minister. I sat back and let my greenie practice bible bashing. I remember I was sitting in a rocking chair, feeling quite the inspired senior companion. And just as I was about to stand up and drop the hammer, i.e., bear my ultra sincere testimony, that’s exactly what their minister did. And he was as ultra sincere and any GA at conference! When he finished, my greenie looked at me, and I just said, “Say goodnight, Gracie” and we left. He who bears his testimony last, loses. Anyway, his testimony was as sincere and heartfelt as mine would have been. And if I’d beaten him to the punch, he would have told that couple the same thing I told my greenie, “Satan has him in His power!” Or something along those lines. Both can’t be right, and since we know “we” are, therefore, he is wrong.

    That same greenie and I were in a little town in Mexico. On our first Fast Sunday, at the end of the service, as people are leaving, the Branch President walks over to me and says, “You can use my office for the blessings.” What!? I looked around for the other pair of elders, but they’d gone. They laughed at us later…

    It was the custom in this town, which had had a chapel dedicated by David O. McKay in 1928, to have people who wanted an anointing and a blessing, to line up after F&TM, to get said services done by the elders. So my companion and I shrugged our shoulders and went into the office and began. We’d switch with each new one, who anointed and who blessed.

    When it was my turn to bless, in walks a couple with a baby. We ask who gets the blessing and why, and the dad says, their baby daughter. I ask what’s wrong with her and they start to try to explain, and they show me the baby. My heart practically stopped. She was a Down Syndrome baby. I knew what that was and that it was genetic and that it was like zero percent chance that this was going to work. A lot went through my mind. My companion, (Hola, Elder Price!) anointed her and I blessed her. I have no recollection what I said, but I do recall that my mind was in turmoil.

    Later, in reflecting back, it occurred to me that it was extremely unlikely that any GA would have allowed himself or herself (HA!) to be put in that position. Ever heard of one of our mormon apostles healing an actual condition, like a broken leg or a severed spinal column? Ask yourself why that is? Yes, yes, FAIRmormon, I know… It’s to protect the recipients from learning that they didn’t have sufficient faith!

    For me the logic is impeccable, leading to the conclusion that mormon jesus and mormon elohim do not exist. Of course I understand how people ‘Holy McGhost’ themselves into believing that they do. Which is fine by me.

  20. Joylynn
    August 24, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I left the Mormon church as a University of Idaho student in 1994, but not before marrying a returned missionary in the Logan Temple. Even though I left over twenty years ago, I am still processing the after shocks of my upbringing. I have thoroughly enjoyed the online community of former Mormons I have found. I feel like a left a long time ago, but it is refreshing to hear young people make the same realizations I discovered “back in the day.” Rose, you are delightful! Kind, intelligent, and thoughtful! I am so glad you listened to your inner voice and left what I now realize is a cult. I live in Colorado! In fact, I teach at a high school in Longmont, a town just down the road from Fort Collins, and my husband earned his Master’s degree at CSU. If you ever need anything, a visit with a former Mormon or a home cooked meal . . . okay, I don’t cook. I flunked that portion of Young Women’s – if you would like me to assemble a meal, let me know. It is so refreshing to know that we can still “have” a community within Mormonism, without the crazy doctrine!

    Good luck to you!

  21. Joy
    August 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Just a HUGE thank you to John for this series. Love it so much!! Every week I look forward to each new podcast! Thank you so, so much!!

  22. Cheri Grover
    August 24, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    I am LOVING these missionary interviews! And this girl, Rose, rocks!

  23. Cece
    August 24, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I loved this interview and especially was interested to hear about the “neutral ground doctrine”.

    I don’t recall hearing it taught explicitly, but it’s an attitude that’s definitely present in the church. I remember bringing up the example of my older sister in church a few times. She left the church as a teenager and she is one of the best people I know. She is moral and selfless and positively radiant to the core. She is the type of person who would drop everything at a moments notice and drive 1,500+ miles cross country in a single shot to be by a hospitalized family member’s side.

    I guess when I was an active member this gave me some pretty serious cognitive dissonance. I would anyways talk about my amazing sister and how she was still so good without the church. I always felt that these comments made people uncomfortable, they quickly dismissed it and would were anyways quick to bring up that even if people are really good and moral they are still missing out on doing the most important things, such as temple covenants (therefore they’re not really that good, I guess). Well, that always bugged me a lot and didn’t make any sense.

  24. Emma
    August 24, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    I asked for more facts that led to your disbelief— rose you did share about a couple– but did info about JS ….what he did and said…. have much impact on you?

    To me he is the key– if he truly wasn’t a prophet of God then all of it is man-made and based on lies
    Just wondering
    John….please keep asking the questions—why? What was it specifically that made you loose your testimony? Why did it have such an impact on you? Did history or doctrine Play a role? ? did you experience that ‘death’ of a testimony and suffer the grieving process that so many of us do?
    I keep asking because I’m searching for the heart of that loss and the truth you could not deny
    Thank you

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 25, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      I had similar thoughts about JS. He was either inspired by God or a manipulative liar. I can’t remember all the specifics, but I do remember thinking how most of his revelations benefited him directly. For instance, on the introduction to the BOM I believe it refers to JS as many times as Jesus. That seems a bit egotistical. Any inconsistencies or problems I found in the BOM I held that against him since he claimed to interpret the words. Besides that, I honestly can’t remember. I am sorry, but I agree with your statement that he is the key to understanding a lot of this.

  25. LindaE
    August 24, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) There is no question that you Returned with Honor. If only all missions could focus on this mandate.

    • Lee
      September 22, 2016 at 1:56 am

      I deeply appreciate this comment, and wonder how anyone who has spent time studying the Gospels could fail to grasp the promises made to those who reach out to those in need. Sheep and goats. “I was hungry and ye gave me meat” Even a glass of cold water only in the name of a disciple, and that person “shall not lose his reward”. Rose, you served a truly honorable mission. You served in love and sought truth. I think your MP made the right call whether he knew it or not.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

  26. beth
    August 25, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Hi Rose, this was a truly beautiful interview, Hi from England, thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful feelings, your experiences, it’s so valueable to so many of us, it’s been so lovely to listen to jon interviewing missionaries coming home from their missions and the disillusions along the way in the journey, l am so enjoying this episode, thank you for being so truthful and honest, l really hope the church can be more open and honest about it’s history some day, whatever the cost or outcome, it would also be lovely to have an interview with dan vogel , grant palmer, or any well known church historian and talk to them freely and openly about church history, thank you once again Rose, keep going forward, you sound like a beautiful person inside and out, all the best in all you persue, bless you, thanks again jon for a wonderful interview, keep up the good work.

  27. Tanner Asplund
    August 25, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Rose! Where was the shout out? It was great to see you happy with your decision. Good luck!!!

    • Rose Sorenson
      August 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Tanner! Thanks for helping me finalize my decision to get my named removed ( <– there's a shoutout for you). Missionaries can be helpful in very unconventional ways haha.

  28. Lori c
    August 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Good for you Rose. I am the same. It was my mission that woke me up. I had never known so much darkness in my soul. I left the church shortly after it was finished. I stayed only because I knew the horrid consequences of coming home early.

    The church and the LDS population does not like women who find themselves. We become huge threats. If you need a friend…I’m here.

  29. glenn
    August 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    TO: John Dehlin or other in the medical community, I have a question
    Does a mission cause emotional harm in most cases?
    Every missionary interviewed reported having some emotional problems while on a mission to some level. Does subjecting people to an environment like a mission break people who would otherwise be fine?

  30. j
    August 27, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    John, This missionary podcast is my favorite, love it just as much as your interview with Tom Phillips (pocasts 535-539). Anyway you will do another interview with Tom Phillips??? He is sooo intelligent and clear. Most amazing interview ever!! Rose is such a cute girl, really enjoyed this podcast and series as well! Please do more!!

  31. tropical animal
    August 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Rose, you are so vivacious, so beautiful, so highly intelligent. Too bad for the church that it is losing its smart people. When will they ever learn?

    Incidentally, prayer is a form of hypnosis. You bow your head, screen out external stimuli, focus your attention and repeat ritual phrases. If you pray about the Book of Mormon and get a burning in your breast (which you most probably will not) it only proves you are responsive to self-suggestion. Nothing more.

    All religions have their origin in somebody’s dream world. Especially Joseph’s religion. Mormonism originated in Joseph Smith’s background, replayed and cycled by his dream world imagination, with a lot of dishonesty thrown in. If you want to know the origin of any Mormon doctrine. Just get on the internet, and put in the question, “Where did Joseph Smith get ________________?. Fill in the blank and press enter. And you will have the answer for practically everything in Mormonism.

    John, you are such a skilled moderator. Been a follower of yours for years.

    Love you Rose and John,
    Love you all.

    If you see me in church, don’t tell anyone where you saw me.

  32. Katie
    August 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks, Rose! I was pretty excited when I watched your interview because my story is somewhat similar to yours. I went on a mission a couple months after you as a last ditch effort. I thought that it would help me to know that the church was true, but instead of clearing up all my questions, it only created more. I did stick it out and managed to serve the full eighteen months same as you. I’m happy that you’re so happy and that there is someone who is somewhat similar to me! Best wishes!

  33. Emma
    August 28, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Rose thank you for sharing some of your concerns about Joseph Smith after 60 years in the church I spend some time every day reviewing facts about Joseph Smith — what he did and said– and how it has impacted people it seems there’s always something new to learn
    I’m sure you’ll do much better adjusting to the non-Mormon life I’m glad you got out as early as you did

  34. Kris
    August 29, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Yeah Moroni’s promise! I noticed the same thing years ago when I was in middle school. Same result, except I muddled my way through a lot longer than you did- thinking it was me that was the problem .Thank you for your story.

  35. Christine
    August 29, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I absolutely LOVE the phrase: “take the chip out of your head!!” It doesn’t apply just to Mormons, but to all who believe in the delusion that is God. Great story, Rose! Happy you broke free.

  36. Boyd Ricks
    August 30, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Christine, what if there really is a God?…..but She just isn’t what you have been taught?

  37. DCin CO
    August 31, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    This is a great interview and Rose did what she had to do to finish. I wanted to point out the church is decaying from the inside out. It seems like there are more families lopsided with people that have left the church instead of staying in the church. Even 20 years ago, most people would stay in the religion and it was weird to hear of a family member that left; now it’s the opposite, it’s weird to hear about a family that has retained most of the children in the church. It was interesting, while I was attending a large family gathering, I took a quick survey of my cousins, aunts, uncles… and only a small percentage was still active. The church has many problems, keeping their own is one. It’s got to be that sweet culture…

  38. Jeanette Braithwaite
    September 2, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    This was my favorite missionary podcast so far! Love that Rose is so well adjusted and content with her life! Go rose! Great interview!

  39. Stephen Cashmore
    September 10, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    “It’s weird that they reward you for lying and punish you for telling the truth”. That basically sums up my experience with BYU ecclesiastical endorsements and the Honor Code. It’s even worse when you have to choose between going to church even though you don’t believe anymore (simply to satisfy the requirements of the all-powerful Honor Code), or get kicked out of school and completely start over somewhere else; and simply because you were silly enough to try and live according to your conscience.

  40. Leanna Hamilton
    September 11, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I am no longer a member of the church, left in 1983 and exed in 1984, because I am a lesbian. I served a mission and it was not the “most wonderful time of my life” it was difficult not necessarily for the same reasons of you, but I do understand.
    My question for you is do you consider yourself an atheist because you do not believe in the LDS church or have you lost your belief in God?My understanding of atheism is a lack of belief in God (the Divine.) A loss in the belief in God is different than a loss of belief in a specific faith tradition.
    Can you explain why you feel you are an atheist?

    • Rose Sorenson
      September 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      It’s funny how many people say the mission was the “most wonderful time of their life” and yet there are many of us who had vastly different experiences.

      I will try my best to succinctly answer your question even though I could talk all day on the subject. My “conversion” to atheism was not all in one step. I lost faith in the LDS church first. But the last few months on my mission especially, I went to lots of other church in Georgia (I told my companions it was a great way to improve the churches image and get “meaningful contacts” which our mission put great emphasis on). I found the same feelings I didn’t like from the LDS church. Someone telling me that the only way to live life is by conforming to this one box of stringent lifestyle values. So that crossed off all other religions in my mind. Then I sought to find spirituality or a higher power. I spent a lot of time praying, pondering, going out in nature, etc. and I didn’t feel anything. I felt biological responses to wonderful things (i.e. time spent with my family, a beautiful sunset, etc.) but nothing supernatural. I think that’s when the logical scientist inside me finally took over and reasoned that there is no proof of a higher power and that earth/humans is what it appears to be – a result of the Big Bang.

      I hope that makes sense. Feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

  41. Frederick Davidson
    September 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Great discussion! Love the honesty! Thank you!

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