Stories of Marital Distress or Divorce Because of a Mormon Faith Crisis

If you experienced divorce or significant marital distress because of a Mormon/LDS faith crisis, please share your story here.  If Mormon Stories helped you or your marriage through this process in some positive way, please feel free to share that too.

Note: Please do not comment on other people’s stories.  For this post, I would like it to only contain people’s direct stories.  Thanks in advance.

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171 comments for “Stories of Marital Distress or Divorce Because of a Mormon Faith Crisis

  1. Withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 4:53 am

    My once placid husband became violent and aggressive when I began to doubt the church. His mental health deteriorates to the point where I worry for myself, our children and his future if I openly express my doubts for the church.

    Mentally, the church is destroying my family and I hate the leadership for it. I absolutely hate them.

  2. Annick Dupal
    January 20, 2015 at 5:15 am

    My ex-husband lost a job and began to pray x 1,000,000. A mixture of stress and fanaticism landed him in a mental hospital for psychosis. When he came home, he refused to work or seek employment because “God would provide.” He ended up believing that he had been selected to bring forth the second coming of Christ.

    I talked to several bishops (our ward was split up at about that time) and they told me that if indeed he was chosen that time would tell. That’s it. They made little effort to help and told me to pray and endure. One of them told my ex to seek psychiatric help. When he (ex) refused, he (bishop) didn’t insist.

    Along the way, my ex-husband decided that he needed to start “the Lord’s company” (a business that never materialized) and that he needed to write a book (which he has since then self-published with the help of his current wife;it’s titled Latter-day Rain. Church authorities did nothing to help, while I was raising five kids and providing for them. I ended up divorcing him, am inactive and a lot happier. So are my kids.

  3. January 20, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Dear John,

    First of all my heart is so much with you and your family this week.

    I am experiencing marital distress because of a Mormon/LDS faith crisis. Anyone can follow my story at http://www.mofemmom.blogspot.com. I just began to share this week. My husband and I are very much in love and have a daughter. He is TBM, but with a very full library of Mormon literature. (I can only assume he is familiar with most of the issues.) Our hiccups with each other regarding the church started when I participated in the first “wear pants to church day.” He was so upset by this that he could hardly speak to me for a few days. I was completely surprised by his reaction, and when I tried to talk about why I felt strongly about participating he shut down. We are a few years into this now and our M.O. is that we just don’t talk about anything church related. I attend regularly not to rock the boat and he pretends like my faith crises doesn’t exist not to rock the boat. I don’t know where this leads us down the road, but I am afraid for our future. The intimacy we once had can’t exist because the conversation is shut down on the deepest parts of us. He is intensely suffering because of the repercussions of being a TBM with a spouse who doesn’t believe, and I am intensely suffering because I feel like I must go on pretending to be something I’m not. Mormon Stories has been hugely helpful for me as an outlet for mentally processing the changes I’m experiencing since my relationship doesn’t provide a safe space for discussion.

  4. January 20, 2015 at 5:19 am

    My husband left the church 8 years ago. At the time we were both very active in our ward and his faith crisis started rather suddenly. He was teaching Sunday school one Sunday and 2 weeks later he told me he was done with the church. It was the hardest thing we’ve been through as a couple. For years I unasked him. I blamed myself and couldn’t give up on ‘the Dream’ that the church markets. I felt like my husband robbed me of my eternity….. Fast forward to now and we’re still together and happy and content. I’ve found a way to stay married and stay in the church, he’s found a way to accept my level of participation and still be authentic to himself. We had to work through things like removal of garments, tithing funds/budgeting, how to raise our kids and how to maintain relationships w family members. It was hard but so worth it.

  5. January 20, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I married because of the church, and divorced because of it. It took me years to recover. I still feel bad that my children only ever saw a stressed Dad, and never saw the natural happy me: I can see the result now in their lives.

    I should have waited to get married: I wanted to “fly above the trees” so never dated before my mission: I studied instead. But I believed completely that obedience brings blessings. So as soon as I got back I got married. My (now ex) wife was, and is a wonderful lady. We never argued, but we had nothing in common except the church. So when I began to question, the marriage could not survive.

    I still remember how it hurt when I was accused of breaking my temple covenants. Yet the only covenant I ever broke was the one to serve the church. I felt like I was a naive immigrant being sold the Brooklyn Bridge. I agreed to pay, as it seemed such a great deal. When I discovered that the seller did not own the bridge I backed out. I was then accused of not keeping my part of the agreement.

    The hardest part is the divisions in my family. I “broke my covenants”, and I cannot support them wholeheartedly in the thing that is most important to them. So I will always be the bad one, the outsider.

  6. Doug
    January 20, 2015 at 5:58 am

    My disaffection was in two stages. Learning about the Book of Abraham while at BYU rocked me to the core. My ex-wife was extremely supportive of me at the time, and helped me through my shock and grief of discovering that the LDS church was not what it claimed to be. I was so grateful for her support that I pushed my doubt aside and worked at being everything she needed from me.

    A decade later while researching my family history, I stumbled upon the fact that some of my ancestors were polygamous. This information brought up more questions in my mind and led me into studying about Joseph Smith and his polygamous relationships. I was stunned to say the least. Feeling betrayed, I wanted my close family members to know how I was feeling. Fortunately before I got too far down that road, I stumbled upon Mormon Stories where I did not feel so alone. Mormon Stories gave me a perspective of what it must feel like to be on the opposite end of a faith crisis. My feelings of betrayal subsided and feelings of compassion increased.

    My former spouse and I gave it our best shot and went to marriage counseling for four years while we worked on how to reshape our relationship. Ultimately we were not successful. I do feel I should shoulder at least half of he blame, but a lingering disappointment in this whole saga is that my ex-wife claims to be a victim of an unbelieving spouse. Her decision in the end was to concentrate more on an eternal reward than the ability to live in the present.

    My relationships with my family and friends remain intact both in and out of the church. The church’s emphasis on strict obedience to its dictates did not allow a free flowing discussion that should be expected between spouses.

    Comments that were made during the course of counseling.

    When you are around, I feel the spirit leave our home.
    What am I supposed to do in eternity when you aren’t there?
    You have completely pulled the rug out from beneath me.
    The children deserve a father who can give them blessings.

  7. Wannakeepmyjob
    January 20, 2015 at 6:24 am

    After many years of painful shelving, the 1990 temple change was the final straw. DH was in high leadership, didn’t want to discuss the conflicts, but knew I was agonizing, and agreed that it was better if I “stay home happy, rather than to go miserable.” As long as the issues weren’t discussed between us or our children things seemed to settle. He continued to attend with our sons, I remained “inactive”. But he hoped it was just a phase, and I’d get over it. After 12 years, it became apparent I was not returning. He was approached twice by upper leadership and counseled to “exercise his stewardship”, and to “think of his own salvation”, in both instances divorce was mentioned as a possibility that would be the catalyst to “get her going.” When he and I had the divorce discussion, we shared our deep love for each other outside of the church, I expressed how committed I was to never fully returning, yet he expressed how he couldn’t stop going. But through it all we realized the most important thing was not the church, but that we wanted to stay committed to each other. The gulf between my not wanting to attend and his need to attend without “the brethren on my back” was compromised, I agreed to sit with him in SM, fully not engaged, no praying, singing, eating, drinking, or paying attention (I took my own reading), but it was also agreed that if something was said in SM that was an issue, he and I would discuss it. It took four years of passively sitting during those milk meetings, then engaging in meaty discussions at home, for his shelf to fall. My story is so rare, but I am deeply grateful he is still with me. Update, I have not attended in three years, he only attends occasionally, but that is becoming more difficult for him now. He realizes he is where I was 24 years ago.

  8. square peg
    January 20, 2015 at 6:54 am

    When I had my faith crisis my husband was completely shocked. The guilt and self-hatred I felt for letting him and my children and parents down was tormenting! He felt hurt and angry and felt that I’d turned my back on the very thing that brought us together in the first place. I’d always been extremely strong in the the gospel and he was impressed with that. Finding Mormon Stories helped me see that I wasn’t the only person who had gone through this, and helped my husband see that a lot of my issues were indeed legitimate and causing deep and sincere pain to so many people. We still have many challenges as we try to navigate the differences in our beliefs now after over 20 years of shared belief. But I must say that for me personally, to know that I was not alone saved my life! I am immensely grateful for Mormon stories. It saved me. And it helped my husband be more patient and understanding as I go through this process. My husband has been informed of all the issues and has maintained his belief in the church. But it has helped him be more empathetic towards people who have it affect them to this degree that they no longer can function in the church. I don’t think he could have had this empathetic of an attitude towards me and my faith issues were it not for Mormon Stories.

  9. Lindsay
    January 20, 2015 at 6:59 am

    My husband had silently been doubting for years before I was able to entertain any of my issues. Most of the time he felt not good enough, and admittedly I probably helped foster those feelings because I thought the church answers were the answers we needed in our marriage. It left a rift… a set of things that were taboo topics in our marriage. We had something we openly discussed such as our struggle with eternal families and the church position [due to many of our family members not being members], but mostly there was an uncomfortable silence about all of it.

    Then my husband deployed to Afghanistan. I realized the church was asking too much of me [I was single parenting 4 kids at the time… 2 of them on the autism spectrum.] We started talking about things. Sam and some of my other friends recommended I listen to Mormon Stories. Here was a LDS man openly talking [sometimes with guests] about those hard things. This helped us talk about hard things. Perhaps we could have gone on for a long time with those awkward silence between us, but I know that our marriage has been enriched by the openness we gained from our discussions about the church [as we have continued to apply that to other topics.]

  10. Paul Bates
    January 20, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Hi John. I left the church almost three years ago and struggled for 2 years to make things work with my wife. We ended up getting a divorce and she moved home back west with our two children. We struggled for years trying to make it work. Her family is deeply rooted in orthodoxy and their response to my doubting was harsh and relentless. Your podcast on the myths and reasons why people leave the church was an amazing resource. I tried multiple times to show it to my then-wife and she never could make it through it because it was blatant “ant-mormon” lies. This was 2012 and 2013 and the church later went on to write essays verifying the concerns I had. My journey cost me everything and your example was key in helping me try hard to make it work. I’m sorry for what the church is subjecting you to, I wish they would leave you alone to attend to your faith. All my best.

  11. Bill Preston
    January 20, 2015 at 7:10 am

    i found Mormon stories after its second episode and 4 years into a 11 year marriage. I was depressed and struggling with understanding how my liberal world view fit into the church’s paradigm. I had read Arrington, Brooks, Quinn and others. It seemed as if the more I read and the more I pursued professional and religious education, the more my wife at the time continued to pull away and retrench. She became more conservative in her politics and more actively involved with church functions. I did not shirk church duties either. I never had a problem with living the way I had been taught and despite being labeled as a liberal and not invited to many social functions among mormon neighbors, I held callings of responsibility in my ward.

    As gospel doctrine teacher in my ward I reached a point where I was feeling a need to redact and re-write every lesson I gave because I knew from reading source material that many things were being taught slightly out of context or I personally didn’t agree with the slant towards shame and apocalyptic destruction that was being taught. I also had issue with how the church chooses to approach lessons on sexuality, modesty and homosexuality. Mormon Stories helped me parse through the negativity I was feeling about church messages and helped me realize that others felt the same way that I do.

    My wife and I separated because of my depression and inability to communicate about my discontent with the church. When I did attempt to tell her how I felt I was told that I must be sinning or doing something wrong to arrive at those conclusions because that was not what the prophet teaches. I was in weekly therapy to attempt to figure out what to do with myself.

    I finally decided that I needed to take a step away from the church for a time. I decided to take a year off. I told my wife of my decision and the very next day she emailed me saying she wanted a divorce.

    We went through the process and my wife used my inactivity in the church as a primary reason for not agreeing to joint custody of our children. I did not have any other issues to be held against me. I’ve never been abusive or had any substance abuse problems. Rather than destroy myself emotionally and financially in the divorce fight, I gave in and allowed her what she wanted.

    My wife stated in court that her intention was to find a worthy priesthood holder and get married again as quickly as possible. I do not exaggerate when I say that my ex wife had our temple sealing canceled and was sealed to another man and pregnant with his child all less than a year after our divorce was finalized. The irony of it all is the guy happens to be a guy I went to high school with, has a similar build to me and makes about the same income that I do. There is little difference between the two of us other than his activity in the church and status as a “worthy priesthood holder”

    Since leaving the church I have been able to learn how to successfully manage my depression, I’ve improved my health in many ways, stopped taking prescriptions for depression and other health issues and I’ve advanced in my career and personal goals more than I even thought was possible.

    I feel happy and healthy and glad to be alive. I’m learning about dating and relationships without any pressure to jump back into something before I’ve learned what I need to and have found the perfect match instead of just kneeling at the altar with the first women I met who checked all the church boxes.

  12. mike
    January 20, 2015 at 7:24 am

    My first marriage ended years ago when I discovered items about the church that caused me to be unable to believe that the temple was a divinely inspired foundation of God’s church. The endowment ceremony existed to protect the secrecy of polygamy/polyandry. Freemasonry connections to the ceremony….so dubious. I could not, in good conscience, support that. She looked at me differently from then on. I was not allowed to talk about my findings. Or if I tried to share it, we ran into bombastic family home nuclear explosion evenings. We did not have children so within 6 months it was rather easy to just seperate.

    I look back and see that I thought she chose the church over me but the years tell me we both chose to walk a different path neither of which were compatible. She did end up choosing the church. And actually, I am so glad she did.

    For life is so much better without all that stupid drama.

  13. Dusty
    January 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I was BIC, and a returned missionary. We were married in the temple. I had been a full paid tith payer since before I was baptized. My now ex-wife and I had three wonderful children together. Our marriage wasn’t “perfect” but we had never needed counseling or anything like that. As soon as I started investigating claims made against the church (topics now covered by LDS essays) my ex-wife lost the ability to sleep. After three nights of not sleeping we took her to the hospital where she admitted to the staff that she was suicidel. She attended counseling provided by LDS family services. I was invited to a session in which I expressed the desire to “church shop” but clearly stated that I would continue to support her if she desired to remain mormon and that she was free to bring the children to mormon church until they were 8 years old and could decide for themselves which church to attend. The counselor agreed that we should church shop as a family in an effort to save our marriage. She refused to do so. That week she switched counselors to another who agreed that church shopping was inappropriate. We tried another Christian counselor but she was unhappy being married to someone who was not a priesthood holder. I was never angry at the church until it introduced so much friction into my marriage. Looking back at our 10 plus years of marriage, every argument we ever had was either directly or indirectly tied to the church. I now don’t get to see my children very often and for that I am now bitter at what I now see as a very toxic organization. Questioning and exiting the mormon church resulted not only in my divorce but it has also strained what were once great relationships with my parents and siblings. This last year was the first time in over 30 years (excluding my two mission years) that I didn’t go home for Christmas and all of it comes from problems that are a result to me questioning Mormonism.

  14. Chad
    January 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I began to look into questions about the church’s history in March of 2012, and decided by June that I had to ask to be released from serving as second counselor in the bishopric. My wife remained a believer, and counseled with the stake president, who told her that the church prohibited him from making any recommendations about our marriage but that if he were speaking to his daughter, he would have just one word for her: run! My wife and I were divorced less than a year after I first began questioning. Although I discovered Mormon Stories probably around July, and listened to almost all of the podcasts about helping spouses navigate a loss of belief, preserving marriage in a mixed-faith relationship, etc., I couldn’t convince my wife to listen to any of them. Mormon Stories has helped me immensely because there is no community to help me figure out how to approach life after
    Mormonism, and I figure Mormon Stories helped me transition in about three months a road that would have taken about three years to figure out on my own. Those three months were intensely painful and distressing, and I can’t imagine living in that uncertainty for three years.

  15. Arron
    January 20, 2015 at 7:39 am

    My faith crisis started when a very close friend of mine announced he was gay. When this happened someone in his ward asked him how he felt that the devil was using him personally to destroy the family unit. Subsequently his own mother said to him sometimes I wish you would have died before you came out so you would still have a shot at the Celestial Kingdom. I started to wonder just being gay could was such a terrible thing in the church’s eyes since my friend was such a good person. I then started researching more about the church and discovered many surprising things in the church’s history.

    This was about 10 years ago, around the time I got married. My faith crisis was so difficult that I started taking anti-anxiety medication (which I’ve taken on and off for 10 years). I kept it hidden from everyone until recently when we were going though a tough spot financially and we were behind on our tithing. I wanted to tell my wife that it was a waste of money, but I just couldn’t muster the courage. However, when I read one of the polygamy essays that says how excruciating polygamy was for Emma and how Joseph was threatened with distruction if he didn’t do it, I got very upset and sat my wife down. When I told her I no longer believe the church is true it did not go very well at all. She told me that if she knew this before we got married she wouldn’t have married me. She also told me that there is no way that she can be married to someone that doesn’t have the same beliefs as her. She said I’m a terrible example to my kids. After a long discussion we finally made a compromise. I would keep going to church, keep paying tithing, read scriptures as a family, and never bring this up again. I thought telling her would reduce my anxiety, but it has probably made it worse. My family and her family are very orthodox Mormons and probably wouldn’t have reacted any better. My plan is to leave when my kids get older, regardless of the consequence. Until then I just keep taking my anxiety medication.

    Feeling like friends and family have to choose between you and the church is painful, when they end up choosing the church over you it’s nearly unbearable.

    • Arron
      January 20, 2015 at 7:42 am

      **Sorry about the grammar, I was typing this on my phone while I ate breakfast.

  16. Heather
    January 20, 2015 at 7:47 am

    We didn’t make it. My husband ended his life in 2003. Over the years, as I have tried to piece together what happened to us, I have come to realize that the church was at the root of 90% of the distress in our marriage. We didn’t stand a chance. If this podcast had been available to us at the time, we would have had a framework for discussing our feelings about things we both felt were taboo to talk about due to our LDS upbringings. My children most likely would still have a father. John, no matter what they do to you, please know that you are doing the work that Christ would do if he were on the earth today. You are healing broken souls. I openly rebuke anyone who would dissuade you from this work. They are the true agents of evil.

  17. anon
    January 20, 2015 at 7:49 am

    My wife, kids, and extended family are all devout Mormons. I was too, and served faithfully in the Church, including as a bishopric counselor a couple of times. I lost my belief a few years ago when I was studying some things to help a friend who was investigating the Church. That studying led to more studying, and a few months later, my belief in the Church was gone. I kept that loss of belief to myself for a while because I knew how damaging it would be to my relationship with everyone around me, especially my wife. I felt incredibly alone and struggled with depression.

    I remember when I stumbled upon Mormon Stories during an Internet search. I ended up listening to podcasts through the night, bawling as I realized how many people were in my same situation. I didn’t feel so alone anymore, and I had hope that I could be happy outside of the Church. A little later, I told my wife and family about my disbelief, and resigned my membership.

    Adjusting to a mixed-faith marriage has been more difficult than I thought. We’ve had ups and downs, and have discussed divorce a few times. My wife is deeply saddened by the loss of her ideal Mormon life. She’s talked about how going to church and other church activities is an escape from the harsh realities of her life. We’re still together, and I hope our marriage survives.

    Thank you for your work with Mormon Stories. It has been a great support for me during my faith crisis. Talking about these things is so much better than suppressing them.

  18. Jamie
    January 20, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I was an EQ president who later went inactive because of a five year faith crisis. My wife struggled with what she felt was a “lack of priesthood authority” in the home. She went to our Bishop and he counseled her to ask me to move out in 2006. I did. The fact that the Bishop said this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I was done with the church. We divorced a year later and my ex remarried four months after the divorce to someone she met via an LDS singles site. There were four more divorces that year in our ward until the Bishop was released. (Happy to share his name in private).

  19. Dave*
    January 20, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Our marriage was founded in and defined by our strong belief in the LDS faith. A strong pre-mission relationship blossomed into marriage soon after my triumphant and honorable return. We then followed the plan of happiness. We both graduated from BYU while we started our family. My wife stayed at home, even when it hurt her to do so. I supported the family while serving in bishoprics and time consuming leadership positions from our earliest days. Life was hard but we knew we were on the right path.

    The seeds of my doubt were sown on my mission, and grew in my leadership positions as I saw the flaws of this very human church. I was then changed by a unique health situation that put me on deaths door. This also changed my wife as she had to face, for the first time, the very real possibility that she would have to endure to the end without me. I could no longer lift the heavy burden of all the things that are required of a faithful member. I rejected the guilt and pressure. I resigned from my leadership callings and questioned the whole system that created this culture of guilt. I reopened long closed questions about polygamy, obedience without question, and the very purpose of life.

    Now, after 17 years of marriage and four children, my faith transition is the hardest thing our relationship has had to endure. We are having to negotiate some of the most basic aspects of our marriage and parenting decisions. When combined with major marital role realignment as she re-enters the workforce, we are in a stage of change that has us both on edge. It is difficult to look beyond what has changed, what is missing, what is wrong or where we now differ and see where we agree, what we have gained, or what has improved.

    We are both committed to making it work, but it is now work were before our relationship was not in question and we both had no doubt it would last for an eternity.

  20. Jay
    January 20, 2015 at 8:02 am

    My faith crisis did not affect my upcoming marriage but rather my upcoming marriage was the catalyst that led to a faith crisis.

    I was engaged to a girl whom I had dated in my young adulthood and we got together again in my later 20s. We I was “re-activating” at the time (I always lived a roller coaster of activity) but she and I were both convinced beyond a doubt that this was the correct thing for both of us to do. And so we began to plan a temple wedding.

    She broke it off and I began to wonder why I had received such positive affirmations when praying to see if this was correct if it was just going to fall apart. This led to me launching a full investigation into the church’s theology and history to determine whether I wanted to be involved or not.

    In the process I was exposed to Runnell’s letter and more importantly the source material. Once I had checked out the materials and the church began to confirm and acknowledge that these events and problems and were unable to produce a realistic or acceptable rebuttal (Acknowledging that the Book of Abraham was not a direct translation of the papyri was a BIG one) I decided I no longer wanted to be involved.

    I am however still “in the closet” so to speak regarding my standing with the church to my family. I am finding it very difficult to approach them with this because our roots in the church are more than spiritual. It’s a family tradition that goes back to the 1830s.

  21. Sophia
    January 20, 2015 at 8:05 am

    I was desperate to find non-anti Mormon materials when I no longer saw the LDS organisation with virgin eyes. I emailed my husband two links from Mormon stories… the Laurie and Dan Gallagher (sp chk) interview where she is no longer believing and he is and what to do when your loved one loses their testimony. My believing husband snubbed the interview but did click the fifty minute presentation John Dehlin together for those in my husband’s shoes. It immediately softened his heart towards me and provided resolve to stay with me. Eventually he too would disassociate with the church but for his own reasons separate from mine. That was almost five years ago. I can not tell you how nice it has been to have a hand to hold throughout this entire life changing ordeal. The very hand that once grasped mine as we knelt across the alter in the Manti temple. I know our lives, and the lives of our two children would be vastly different had it not been for Brother Dehlin. No, we didn’t stay. We couldn’t. We respect those like him who do. Making Mormonism work on your own terms, I suspect, is something many members do. I refuse. It is a shoe that served me faithfully until I out grew it. Thank you Mormon stories.

  22. james
    January 20, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Bishop married us the year after my mission. I was slowly distancing myself from the church from the point of my mission exit interview. My wife was doing the opposite and diving deeper in. Approximately 11 years and 1 son she wanted to go through the temple and I could not stand to listen to any more of the same old. She was afraid she could not get to the Celestial kingdom without a husband to pull her through. Thus started a several year tension in our marriage with her contemplating kicking me to the curb. Some of the most difficult years of our marriage it included our biggest blow up fight with me telling her to move on down the road. We persisted through days of hardly speaking to each other and going to bed at different times. I showed her that I loved her more than the church did through action and luckily she had a conversation with a bishops wife, she made her realize she was working on throwing away a good thing. My disbelief was the only hurdle, Bishops wife said “do you know how many women would die to have the relationship you have”. It still took some years to calm down. 10 years of rocky relationship because of that doctrine. 29 years of marriage and we are now in one of the strongest stages of our marriage. I now have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to the church. It tried to divide us but it did not succeed.

  23. mike
    January 20, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I will add here that even though the first marriage ended due to my discoveries re: dubious temple origins/polygamy/polyandry/freemasonry, I ended up marrying another lds woman. I still do not attend the temple or don the garments but she, as an extremely active devout lds woman, married me for me. And married her for who she is. I do attend church and am active as I am able with the level of disbelief in lds foundations still in my head.. . We have three beautiful kids. Life is sweet.

  24. Monica
    January 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

    My faith transition has created a lot of tension in my marriage. One of the biggest issues is that my husband believes that my identity as a “good person” with healthy core values is inextricably dependent on my activity in the church. He basically feels like the only way to be a “good”, emotionally stable, happy person is to be involved in the church. With church out of the picture, he is extremely stressed that I will sink into some sort of general moral depravity.

    Once i became less involved in the church, he immediately panicked and became frantic that I would “go off the deep end” and lose all sense of ethics or morals. He told me that I’d possibly end up having an affair, or that I would become an alcoholic or drug addict, or that I would just in some vague way become a horrible, miserable, uncaring person. It was pretty upsetting to me that after almost 10 years of marriage he didn’t know me well enough to understand that my core morals and values are part of who I am internally, regardless of church involvement. Some of my less important values have changed (drinking coffee, wearing sleeveless shirts, etc.)but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped being a caring, loyal, compassionate, emotionally healthy person.

    The truth is, I don’t think he’s entirely to blame for feeling this way. Because that’s what the church trains people to think. When he is being told in conference that because I’ve left the church darkness is going to consume my life, and that I am comparable to Judas, it’s no wonder that he worries about me “going off the deep end” and losing all sense of morality.

  25. Frank B
    January 20, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I stopped going to church close to 11 years ago, largely as a result of investigations into most of the cesletter.com issues. (I wish that document had been around at the time – it would have made things so much easier!)

    My wife has remained mostly TBM, and we’ve had a high-stress, low-intimacy relationship all this time since then. She occasionally reminds me that I’ve “broken covenants” and ruined her life. But then sometimes she’s supportive of some parts of my position.

    It’s made life difficult. She tries to make me feel bad for not going to church with her and the kids, and I try to remind her of the reprehensible things that have been done and are being done in the name of the church.

    Mormon Stories has helped *a bit* in opening up some dialog about the issues of feminism and the Church’s stance on homosexuality and intellectualism, all of which she has a difficult time reconciling for herself. She doesn’t listen to the podcasts, but she does sometimes read the blog posts and the comments when they’re linked to on facebook.

  26. C
    January 20, 2015 at 8:35 am

    http://www.linkingarms.org/about-me/

    Not my story, but these people seem awesome. Their names are RuthAnn and Kenn Sullivan.

  27. Kevin Rex
    January 20, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Going through a faith crisis and coming out gay are not two things one should do so close together. However, using many of the “Mormon Stories” and “Gay Mormon Stories”, my wife, whom I love dearly, has come to understand why I have had to resign from the Church even though I am staying committed to her while still being as gay as I can. Especially helpful in helping her understand my faith crisis about the LDS Proclamation on the Family, which hurt me very deeply, were the Mormon Stories interviews of Carol Lynn Pearson, a poet whom we both admire, and the interview of William Bradshaw. My wife and I watched all of the Lolly and Josh Weed interviews, and came away with much understanding of so many different viewpoints. She and I still continue marital counseling, but in between that counseling, we still turn to many Mormon stories interviews (especially the video-taped ones) for understanding of each other. To my wife, it is a compromise, as she views the Mormon Stories still as unorthodox, but when I compromise, too, like going with her to Sacrament meeting so she doesn’t have to sit all alone in the very “family” ward we live in, then we both learn. I still love sitting with her and singing hymns and listening to good sermons from even the most humble speakers, but the disconnect between a very loving ward family and the awfulness of the General Authorities and their messages is and was too much pain for a gay man who came out very late in life. Thank you, Mormon Stories, John Dehlin, the Dehlin family, for helping our marriage stay together. Our 18 year old daughter, too, who still lives at home, has benefitted by hearing Mormon Stories, too, so she can more fully love her father and her mother. My daughter, too, has chosen to stay active in Mormonism, while still acknowledging the hurt the Church causes me. Learning to live with this dissonance and paradox is critical in our day and age, and such learning is definitely not part of LDS curriculum currently, but perhaps should be.

  28. Withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 8:48 am

    My wife and I have been married for over a decade. We worked through a porn habit, we lived in poverty, we lost a young child, we moved too frequently to set down roots, we’ve dealt with serious illness, and we’ve still managed to have what we could call a great marriage. That all changed the day I told her that my belief in the church was dwindling due to new information I had accidentally discovered. We spoke to everyone from apologists to stake presidents. No one could refute the facts, and my decision to live a life of honesty won out.

    She on the other hand went into deep depression that she has never quite recovered from. It’s getting better, but she refuses to admit that she has the problem. In her mind I am the problem, even though I still do almost everything I did as a faithful believer. Simply not sharing her faith, encouraging our children to consider facts, and not attending a church I consider harmful was enough.

    As a result, I’ve been forced to keep the most prominent influence on my life perspective to myself. I can’t share it with her for fear of driving her deeper into depression or closer to the edge. Even with the faith differences acting as only a silent wedge between us, we’ve discussed divorce on and off over the last few years. I don’t know if her family would suggest this path in hopes of finding a believing member to replace me, but I know they would support her. I also know that some of her friends have encouraged it.

    I also know that the local ward has breached boundaries to approach my children without me present. They’ve had adults approach them while at school and have had kids in the ward they don’t talk to suddenly want to become their friend. In every case, the interest has been to convince them that they should come to church, which they are always allowed to do if they so choose. I’m less annoyed with the bishop directly, but I do feel his “blessings” that he has given my wife are widening the rift rather than closing it.

    I’ll stop now, and I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I don’t hate the church or the people that insist on causing so much pain in my life. I don’t think they really know what they’re doing. I don’t necessarily like them or appreciate it, but it’s not hate.

  29. Tyler
    January 20, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I’m coming up on ten years since my LDS faith crisis and our family is still together, despite a very tumultuous stretch that we may never completely resolve. The LDS church offers the believing spouse no tools for making this work. Every message seems to be ultimately about protecting the institution. Mormon Stories fills a huge void here.

  30. Kevin
    January 20, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I am no longer a TBM and I have told my wife this. While I know she has doubts herself, the church is just too deeply ingrained for her to leave which I am okay with. We still attend church together and we have a calling in the nursery which I don’t mind. I have told her when it comes to certain callings, I’ll refuse to accept them. I don’t think she has a problem with that. I have refused to pay tithing anymore. Her concern is that not only will I not be able attend the temple with her, who will be able to baptize our children. It has caused her some stress and she has said that she will need to re-calibrate her life. I know when I was on a mission the bishop always asked to see the TR of the person who was baptizing. I am still willing to do these things because I still believe in the things Christ taught. However if they don’t let me baptize because I don’t give ten percent of my money to the church, that will be the final straw.

    I’m not sure what will be the final result of my marriage but I think we’ll be fine. Luckily for us, my wife is a PhD marriage and family therapist. She actually has thousands of hours of real counseling and has dealt with some of these issues with some of her clients. She understands the world isn’t black and white, do or die, our way or the highway that the Church puts out. If only some of these people that are in leadership positions actually knew something about counseling.

  31. Alex
    January 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I began my faith transition in 2001 before there was a Mormon Stories. I managed to hang on to my faith for many years despite experiencing and learning about many of the negative aspects of my faith that were later openly discussed on Mormon Stories. Before Mormon Stories, honest expressions of doubt were heresy. I went through a lot of marital pain over many years as my wife wanted to hear none of what is now being openly admitted by the church. Were my spouse a lesser person, she would have left me due to my doubts. Luckily for me, she is good people and believes that our marriage comes before the church. I cannot, and do not want to, imagine the pain of those who lose their family and children due to casualties of faith.

    I have listened to Mormon Stories for many years now and after practically begging her to listen, she finally started listening several years ago. We listen to them together and discuss. We talk about the issues now *gasp* and there is nothing off limits for discussion. Of course I felt validated in my doubts and questions over the years when MS came along, but I think that more importantly, my doubts were validated in her eyes. She sees where I am coming from, and she knows that I was not out to hurt the church all along. Our relationship is now built on a very strong foundation of trust and honest discussion about Mormon issues and Mormon Stories played a huge part of that.

    Now we believe that our faiths are more complete, warts and all. Mormon Stories has helped make our relationship whole and there is no longer any mistrust that accompanies an honest expression of doubt. We have a common goal of improving the church we love. We serve with all our hearts in the church. We discuss openly the issues of the church with our kids and have been impressed with their levels of maturity when given all of the facts. We are loved by the members of our ward and we love them too. We serve generously in our callings and our kids are planning on missions and temple marriages. We don’t think we would be at this point without Mormon Stories.

    Finally, and I think this is important, we still believe in the truth claims of the church. That is the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Obviously, we differ with John Dehlin and some others in this regard. But Mormon Stories is much bigger than John now. And John has done a great work with Mormon Stories. John and Mormon Stories merely stepped into a void that the church by its doctrines and practices has left. Mormon Stories has been the bishop, the friend, the family member, and the counselor to our marriage where the LDS faith has seriously failed. It pains me to see him disciplined by the church. I believe that the church is killing the man who is trying to set it free.

    God bless you John.

  32. January 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I was born into a 5th generation Mormon family, the oldest child of five, and raised in a devout Mormon environment in southeast Idaho. Graduated from seminary and BYU, married in the temple to my Mormon high-school sweetheart, and proceeded to father three Mormon children. At the age of 22, as a graduate student far from my Mormon culture, I was confronted with non-Mormon fellow students, whom I naturally wanted to share the gospel with. They claimed to know some damaging things about my religion (Adam=God, blood atonement, etc.), and I resolved to research the truth to prove them wrong. I spent about three years on this (1954-1958/9).
    It finally and suddenly dawned on me, sitting one day in the university library, that the Mormon church was just another man-made religion, and was not true. It was like a revelation! I was oddly relieved to figure it out. It was suddenly so obvious! I rushed home and shared my conclusion with my wife: “Honey, the church is not true!”
    She turned and stomped up the stairs. That was the beginning of the end of our marriage. She tried to deal with it, and I made some tactical mistakes (began to drink coffee, occasional glass of wine). One day I came home and found that she had left with the children to return to Utah.
    At a meeting in her lawyer’s office, he asked her what would induce her to cancel the divorce proceedings. She replied, “He would have to come back to the church.” I knew then that it was over, after eight years of marriage.

  33. Brad
    January 20, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Unlike most of the stories posted here, my relationship to the church and my wife has remained mostly positive. This is due to the fact that my TBM wife has been supportive of my faith crisis and my local leaders have been non-judgemental about this process. This support has helped me work through most of my spiritual rewiring. I completely understand and sympathize with any who have not had this same support. I’m pretty sure that I would have left long ago if I encountered pushback and scorn from those around me.

    That being said, I still have days when I wonder why I’m not pulling the plug. Mostly, the reason I don’t is that I have been able to reconfigure how I see the church. John’s story and others have been instrumental at helping me rebuild my attitude and perspective on Mormonism and religion after all the cards came falling down ten years ago.

    There is no support system in the church “For Those Who Wonder.” Mormon Stories helped me stay sane during one of the darkest hours of my life. Thank you John and God bless.

  34. Steve
    January 20, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Until 18 months ago I was a hardcore TBM. Everything a mormon is supposed to do I did. Everything you’re not supposed to do I avoided like the plague. My ex was raised in the church and was a little more laid back, but in general followed all the church tenants, it’s just that she wasn’t fully read up on all of the doctrines and kind of picked and chose what she wanted to believe. She hated and despised the concept of polygamy with a passion.

    Then in 2012 as I was filling out our tithes and offerings, I noticed that the wording on the slip had changed to some legalistic corporate BS about how all of our donations were now the church’s to do with how they wished regardless of our wishes (I usually donated 5% to offerings, the perpetual education fund being one of my favorites). I immediately got a sick feeling and thought WTF? I told my then-wife about it and she was concerned too.

    As soon as we got home I began googling changes in LDS policy for donations and somehow found the Businessweek article (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-10/how-the-mormons-make-money) “How Mormons make money”. What I read made me sick and I found out for the first time about the multi-billion dollar mall that our money had gone to pay for. We sacrificed greatly to help the poor and in need, and here the church leaders were squandering our donations to build their own corporate empire and pad their own pockets. My wife read the same article and was truly appalled. We both agreed that it was fair reporting, but that most members would consider the truth “anti”.

    I began to question the wisdom of continued donations to the corporation and wanted to donate to real charities of our choice, or to the local women’s shelter. My wife insisted that we had to keep pouring our money into the corp. because otherwise God would damn us and that he would eventually punish the church leaders. This made no sense to me at all. I eventually compromised that she could pay her half of our money (I was the only income earner), while I would stop. So our tithes went down to 5% and I completely stopped donating any offerings.

    The problem is that I was true believer. That was the only reason I put up with so much of what I considered BS in the church. I never fit in there and didn’t have any mormon friends because they always struck me as inauthentic and phony. So once I realized what was going on I kept digging. I found Mormonthink, then r/exmormon on Reddit, and finally the CES letter. I’d never heard about the Book of Abraham issues (I’d been taught the exact opposite of the truth). I’d been told that Joseph Smith had many wives, but that they were all old widows married to him long after he was dead. Then I find that not only was he preying on little 14 year old girls, but he was also sending men on missions and then “marrying” their wives.

    I was appalled. My whole world felt like it was crashing down. I was adrift on a rudderless raft in the middle of the Maelstrom. I turned to the only person I could think of; my wife. I asked her to show me where I was wrong, what I had missed in my research and thought process. She told me that I would be damned for my doubts and utterly refused to talk with me. She didn’t lift a finger to help me but cast me to the wolves. Way to have my back; if the roles had been reversed I would have gone to hell and back for her.

    She told me I wasn’t allowed to talk to our children about my doubts, to which I readily agreed, and I continued attending church with my family. What I didn’t know however, was that she ratted me out to the bishop (plus adding plenty of embellishments for good measure), and began telling my kids behind my back that I was in league with Satan and no longer believed in God. I didn’t realize any of this until it was far too late.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much else that happened, but who wants to read a novel (and I don’t have the time to write one either). Suffice to say that as soon as she completed her masters degree, she grabbed the kids and ran off to Utah. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about what happens to me in this situation when their wives file in Utah after they’ve been their long enough to become a resident. So I filed her in Missouri, and that was that. If only I’d kept living a lie we might still be together. But an anonymous person once said,”When an honest man discovers he is mistaken, he will either cease being mistaken, or cease being honest.”

  35. Kellie
    January 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

    When my faith crisis came to a point where going to church caused anxiety, my husband and I had some serious distress. I really wanted to support his desire to remain active, but he wanted me there by his side. Although I attended sporadically, it was obvious that I was not fulfilling his desire for me to fill the role as a believing Mormon wife (and many of the cultural customs that accompany that role). The big “D” word came up a lot, and I begged for his understanding. I wanted the marriage to work desperately, but he wasn’t sure he wanted an unbelieving wife. I knew I could not fake it. I had to follow my conscience, even if it meant losing my marriage. Finally, after months of ambiguity regarding our future, my husband came to means said, “I realize how ridiculous it would be to break up our family for a religion that is supposedly about families.” He started to listen to try and understand my anguish. Several Mormon Stories podcasts later, he totally understood my predicament and our marriage is now better than it has ever been. Mormon Stories saved our marriage, and I am so grateful that my husband was willing to listen and tried to understand.

  36. January 20, 2015 at 9:47 am

    My husband experienced a faith crisis about two years into our marriage, while we had one son. Because my husband was terrified of conflict and me potentially leaving him (because we were taught that was a reasonable action in cases like these), he withheld info about the faith crisis for 18 months, until I discovered emails between him and disaffected members and a book about controversial church issues. Because of what I had been taught by leaders, scripture, and family about doubters and apostates I completely vilified him for “lying” and doubting/researching outside of church publications. I felt terrified of the eternal consequences of his lack of testimony and not being a “righteous” priesthood holder. Additionally, he was getting his Master’s degree at BYU. We lived in BYU housing and he had an on campus job. All of our livelihood depended on his ability to get an ecclesiastical endorsement, which necessitates belief/testimony. Our marriage was severely strained and I felt extremely depressed and anxious to the point of developing an anxiety disorder. As sad as this is, had I had a marketable degree and therefore more confidence that I could provide for myself and my baby, I might have left my husband. I’m so grateful that I didn’t. He’s truly the most kind person I know who has done everything in his power to be a terrific husband, father and person. After 8 more years of him trying to maintain belief and us being 100% active, I actually started having my own faith crisis. We are now on the same page about the church not being what it claims, and thanks to John Dehlin, the transition out has been healthier and happier than it would have been. We finally have the wonderful marriage we deserve. I’m sad to think about what could have happened.

  37. JC
    January 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Dear John,
    I’m very much in the middle and thick of it and can’t tell you how my story ends. The first time I had any sort of issue with the church was when as a regular EQ teacher I taught a lesson on the Kirtland bank. The story didn’t give out any reasons or details for what happened so I decided to google it. Needless to say I was disappointed in what I read and couldn’t shake the feeling that if they were hiding that, what else were they hiding?

    I had problems in my marriage and last August my bishop suggested I strenthen my testimony as one of the solutions. I decided to read the BOM cover to cover but also to research as much as I could about the church. I felt that in order to gain a true testimony I needed to have a spiritual, emotional and intellectual witness of the veracity of the BOM and everything the church claims. Needless to say it all came tumbling down and soon I was talking to my bishop about what I had found. I was surprised he didn’t know half of the things I was telling him but thankfully he’s an amazing guy and worked with me through all these issues. Not by providing me cookie-cutter answers but just his love and support.

    When I told my wife she was first surprised, then open to look at other religions with Catholicism as the main option but soon after she decided she was not going to leave mormonism. She dug her heels into the religion and now carries a BOM anywhere she goes. She has sent me articles of people saying they were not listening to the spirit then they left and all the apologethic approach on how to handle a crisis of faith. I have since stopped going to church and feel like the real problems are about to start. I don’t see us together in the long term, unfortunately.

    All the while we have been in deep pain, depression and that is likely not going to go away soon. I can only be thankful for having found your podcast and being able to band-aid my scrapes as best as I could. You have no idea how therapeutic it is to hear others say they felt the same way I did.

  38. J
    January 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

    The new publications on the unsavory aspects of Mormon history that were published last year rocked me to the core. Specifically the polyandry and the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. I was angry that I had been lied to my whole life. In a matter of months I went from mostly happy Mormon to wanting nothing to do with it. Fear of backlash from family and from my wife has kept me active. I tried talking about it with my wife and she reacted very negatively. Lots of tears and lots of guilt trips. She refused to talk about it after a week of arguing and told me to talk to the bishop. I did and his response was to ignore the other stuff and focus on the Book of Mormon. I reminded him that this “other stuff” was on the church’s website and he said I have to figure it out on my own. It all comes down to the Book of Mormon was all he would say. I said that that challenge was a dangerous and rather unwise litmus test and he disagreed. Begged me to reconsider my position and we parted. Still active, but my wife refuses to talk about it. I’m constantly wondering when the topic will come up again and I’m worried she’ll leave me. I love her and her family more than my own and I’m really worried about losing that.

  39. Hans
    January 20, 2015 at 9:53 am

    When my wife learned of my disaffection (which was a slow burn and which I had kept to myself, like an idiot), she was devastated and felt betrayed. We had always had a lovely marriage, but we were on the cusp of divorce because of the schism, and then because her own feelings about marriage generally were so tied up in the church’s narrative.

    Mormon Stories helped me to explain topics as she was learning about them. There was at least one episode talking about mixed-faith marriage or other situations similar to our that were very helpful.

    Eventually we came to be more or less on the same page, and worked through the painful feelings, and we have a strong and happy marriage once again.

  40. Andrea
    January 20, 2015 at 9:57 am

    My husband left two years before I did. But those two years were the most tumultuous of our marriage. Divorce came up far too often. And it was very seriously considered each time. I had a lot of pressure put on me from my extended family. My in-laws wanted me to stay with him so i could “save” him. My parents wanted me to leave him so I could find a “worthy” priesthood holder to take me to the celestial kingdom. It was heart breaking.

    The way that the church teaches you to respond to people with doubts is not conducive to a healthy marriage. They want you to silence them, not hear them out. They want you to shun them, not embrace them. I constantly felt like I shouldn’t have a recommend because I was married to someone who held ideals contrary to the church’s teachings. It’s an incredibly toxic mindset that they instill in you from the beginning.

  41. Sue
    January 20, 2015 at 10:02 am

    This is my experience as woman within Church culture and doctrine, born in the covenant, married in the temple.

    I feel lucky to have been born in a family culture that was diverse by Mormon standards. My mother’s parents were not members, my father’s parents were not active. My pioneer history includes one spunky lady who tricked her polygamous husband in order to escape that particular hell. At the insistence of her father, but also to the chagrin of her husband, my mother received an advanced degree and went back to work when my younger brother started school full-time. This saved my mother mentally and my parents marriage also as it allowed for some financial autonomy and rebuilt my mother’s self-esteem which was damaged by a moderately controlling husband.

    All this now cherished diversity, also made me stand out like a sore thumb in a world where eight-year-old girls proclaim motherhood to be their only goal in life, where dinner is always on the table, and a man is taught to preside. In a culture where fitting in is paramount, dates were few for me. I was told by one boyfriend’s mother that I wasn’t domestic enough. It was made clear to me that my intellect and ambition should be downplayed if I wanted suitors. And of course I did want them.

    So instead of attending college on the East Coast, my dream and my mother’s for me, I stayed and attended the U of U on full-ride scholarship, gained the deeply longed for approval of my father, met my husband, and lost myself.

    I was not challenged at school. I was thrown into a very odd culture of returned and departing missionaries and basically placed my own development on permanent hold while I waited to see how things would turn out romantically. By the time my missionary returned and we were engaged, I felt myself a shell. All of my eggs were in that basket of marriage, our relationship wasn’t what it had been when he left, but it was the only path left open to me at that point. The only path culturally acceptable.

    My choices were my own. My youthful lack of perspective is now glaring to me. There are people that navigate the same circumstances with more grace.

    I married into a deeply traditional family. Women and men were segregated at the dinner table, if not intentionally, then by desire. As a woman, my conversation with sister-in-laws was limited in subject and scope. What had been a light in my eyes of intellect and leadership and equality was dead. I found myself staring out the window with nothing to say and no one asking my opinion. I followed my husband as he gained his graduate education, followed his dreams, pursued his passions.

    Ironically, as we traveled for our schooling, I never once felt or was made to feel unequal or uneducated for my choice to stay at home with our children. That sense of disregard only came at Church or in Church circles. Men in our Church are taught it is their right to preside, they are unaccustomed to soliciting or respecting the opinions and talents of women. That there might be women like me for whom their very soul depends upon intellectual stimulation and the opportunity to contribute outside their families–seems not to have occurred to our leaders.

    In voicing my concerns to one Stake leader about women’s role in church, I was condescendingly told I didn’t understand what polyandry was. Sigh. How could it be that a woman educate a man about our history? Of course, I have nothing to offer. Hubris, I’m told for me to desire that my role in my marriage or in my life be determined by myself and God and not my priesthood leaders.

    This podcast. Feminist Mormon Housewives. Study groups like Faith Again. Have been tiny little footholds as I begin to reconstruct my self-esteem and understand what has very definitely felt like PTSD from a Church doctrine and culture that turns the lights off inside their women. Look around and ask yourself, where are the women with the lights on? Where are the women with passion, developing talents, serving their community and not just their dead within the temple, where the best marriages? My experience points outside Church in looking for these mentors, or to non-traditional Church members.

  42. PM
    January 20, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I don’t know for sure what hardship my wife and I may have endured without Mormon Stories, but I can say I’m very confident that it grounded me at a time when I needed someone to be frank with me. I would have been left scouring the internet trying to gather the information I found here, and I think that would not have gone as well as this did.

    My wife did not want to go down this path with me, and I had no one around me to talk to. The podcasts and online groups gave me the middle ground I needed with open discussions of all perspectives when I felt I couldn’t trust anyone. It also helped me learn to give my wife some space and it gave me somewhere else to go with the questions she didn’t want to entertain. It helped me see a way of participating in a Mormon community despite not having the same testimony that the church expects you to have. Because of this, I came to the conclusion that I can go to church to support my wife, I don’t need to challenge her at every turn, but I can be confident that I am being true to myself and the process of discovery that I have found myself in. I think it saved me from going through a bout of rebellion due to frustration.

  43. No Regrets!
    January 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

    If only your podcast had been around at the time of my crisis, the outcome might’ve been different! Married in 1975, I discovered the lies in Mormonism aprox 1978–suffering silently, but continuing to attend in this very Mormon community–until my husband had total burnout from the inability to say no to church jobs. We both became inactive & all was well until his non-Mormon father was dying & requested my H baptize him.

    Within 6 months, SLC allowed his parents to be sealed, at which my H was pressured to attend. In order to go-he was required to pay 6 months back tithing, & put his garments back on. He understood me not going, but soon it drove us apart because they immediately put him in as elders quorum president, so again–he was very busy in the church, & wanted a partner to attend the temple with. (I did attend church with him as a support, but would not teach lessons.)

    This drove us apart, him asking me for a divorce after 16 years of marriage-subsequently remarrying just 4 months later, someone 10 years younger–& in the temple no less! Thinking they’d have to wait the customary 1 year, I asked the stake pres. how this was possible to occur. He said they both “qualify” for a temple recommend & that it will all work out in the hereafter. Needless to say, I completely quit attending church in 1991.

    Busy with life & to my great surprise I discovered your podcast only a year ago, & have listened with amazement that so many others have found the truth about Mormonism–& surprised that people in both camps have been truly helped! While I can’t fully understand those who want to stay after discovering the reality–your podcast is validation they’re not crazy to question the obvious pitfalls.

    All in all, even tho my experience was extremely painful, I have no regrets–am happy things turned out as they did, & am extremely content with life. I truly am happier than I ever was within the chains of Mormonism–& hope those out there suffering now, will know this is entirely possible!

  44. Matt
    January 20, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Reading these stories makes my heart hurt. I am no longer a member of the LDS church. My wife of 22 years is still deeply committed. I shared my deepest fears and concerns with her about my lack of belief. For 10 years I tried to reconcile my disbelief with my desire to maintain the commitments I had made to her. In the end, I just couldn’t continue the dishonestly of “faking” it. I know my decision to leave has been tough on my wife. But she is amazingly supportive. I understand how lucky I am to have that in our marriage. I still believe in a God and hope to find a “religious happy-medium” in our house.

  45. Robert
    January 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Where to start…

    First and foremost 2 things really upset me when I disclosed my disbelief to my wife and she disclosed this to her family.

    1. She considered seriously divorcing me.
    2. Her family consoled, supported, and tried to emotionally help her.

    I must be dumb but I was hurt. I “understand” the whys of these things. But the idea that just not believing something would take a good marriage all the way to a potential divorce upsets me.

    And I’m not dead and I’m not being buffeted by Satan so much that I would harm anyone. Like my wife told me years afterwards, “You are the same good guy I married, so why would I leave?”

    So, I guess this is marital stress manufactured by Mormonism. If it were any other problem (where I was just having problems not “belief” problems) I was having I would feel supported and loved by both my wife and her family. But while supporting her and still maintaining the same relationship with me, I felt I had done something not worthy of directly supporting me. What had I done? Emotionally or physically abused someone? No!

    I had hurt my wife and I get that I did. She saw it coming but coming out hurt her. I know it did and I tried to mitigate this hurt as much as possible but what about my hurt? I was somewhat suicidal and distraught over supporting the Mormon church in any way shape or form. My Mormon world had come crashing down and yet I felt like the bad guy. What had I done? I had stopped believing Joseph Smith and his successors.

  46. Julie
    January 20, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I suffered in silence for years out of fear of how my husband would react to my doubts. I finally got up the courage to tell him, and he blew up in a rage. He told me to remain silent and to never bring it up again. He became more and more cruel and taunting of me to the point where I finally went in and talked openly to the Bishop about my situation. Instead of offering any comfort or empathy or shock at how I was being treated by my husband, the Bishop told me to go home and read the scriptures more and pray more. He then called me in the next week and told me he was releasing me from my calling (I’d served in leadership for at least 20 years straight in that ward).

    In the end, our marriage did not survive. I had no support from my ward or stake leaders and was treated like a leper by ward members. I guess I was supposed to stay silent and stay in an abusive relationship, to retain any type of respect.

    The church shouts “Families Can Be Together Forever”, but actually splits up families and causes a tremendous amount of pain.

    • Just another one in the many
      January 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      I joined the LDS Church at 16 shortly after my mother died. I begin dating my husband when I was 24. I felt extreme pressure to marry. By Church social standards I should have already been married by that age, even though I dated all the time.

      Even though my husband and I had a complete lack of any emotional connection on an intimate level, he fit all of the standards approved by the Church for a happy marriage. He was raised in the Church, served a mission, held several prominent leadership positions, and had been EC president twice. Both sides of his family go back to the founding members, and was directly related to Joseph Smith. Ever since I had joined, I was told repeatedly that the aforementioned items insured a happy marriage, as long as I put in the work, and I was certainly willing to put in the work. By Church standards I thought I had hit LDS gold. A happy marriage was mine for the taking.

      I worked hard at my marriage, and yet I was so, so lonely. I couldn’t figure out how I could be lonely when I was married with several children. Ww were active in the church, paid our tithing faithfully, attended all our meeting, prayed, read scriptures together, and had the standard date night. Yet something was missing. As the years rolled on I became increasingly depressed and was deeply and desperately unhappy. Whenever I spoke to anyone about it I was just counseled lovingly to work harder, have faith, pray more, or that I should only focus on my blessings. I was told that there must be something that I wasn’t doing, or I would be happy. I believed that I was the problem, that I needed to be, or feel, something other than myself. I was repeatedly told that I was somehow at fault, and a deep and powerful self hatred grew.

      It had grown to the point to where I was almost nonfunctional. (Once, when discussing it with the Bishop I was told by him that I brought the spirit of Satan with me. I am assuming it was because I was desperately unhappy, no reason was given. That comment still makes me angry to this day). If I hadn’t lost my mother and knowing what that does to children I doubt I would have survived those few years. I became very ill and I stopped attending Church.

      I knew I needed help and I found a very good, progressive, non-traditional LDS counselor. After year or so of not attending I slowly began to feel the depression and guilt lessening. All of the stuff that I was told I should be doing began to fade, and I saw my marriage and the Church for what they really were in my life. My husband and I were just not compatible, and no amount of Church activity was going to change that. I also began to actively study the Church with a logical, clinical approach, and for the first time was able to disseminate the causes of my self hatred and depression. Through many years of counseling I have reached a place of genuine love and acceptance. I have found happiness within myself. My marriage and activity in the Church did not survive, however, I did.

    • Julie
      January 21, 2015 at 9:03 am

      I forgot to mention the role that Mormon Stories and John Dehlin played during this painful time in my life. I honestly do not know how I would have made it through without them! I found your website, John, doing a search and I started listening to your podcasts. I realized that I was not alone and that I was not an evil, sinful woman who just needed to study the scriptures more and pray more. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
      Many are standing with you, John.

  47. Doesn't Matter
    January 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Over a decade ago I accepted that I didn’t know the church was true or really even believe it was. This was after years of earnestly striving to gain a testimony through study, service and obedience. The “promise” just didn’t work for me. However, I believed what I had been told – if I hung in there and just tried harder, it would come. The fault, I was told, was my own, not the gospel’s. I was just not enough – obedient/faithful/humble/service – you name it.

    Unfortunately, my striving to be enough took me through a mission, a temple marriage, and children. Only after that did I finally accept that I was OK, and the problem was with the church. The emotional relief and peace I felt when I finally let it go emotionally and mentally was immense. However, so was the difficulty of my situation.

    My wife, my parents and in-laws, all my extended family are faithful Mormons. They pride themselves on being faithful, true believers. They shun anyone or anything that they consider “anti-mormon” which is just a loaded phrase for anyone or anything that deviates from the dogma, or even honestly questions it. I know admitting my doubts would mean shunning.

    When I finally opened up to my wife a year or two after I saw the light. She was hurt and scared. She was mostly terribly afraid of what the kids, family, neighbors/ward, would think of us. She didn’t want me to tell anyone. The social stigma was too much. She was also confused and scared about what this meant for our “forever family”.

    I love my wife dearly. I felt terrible for pulling the rug out from underneath her, so to speak. Afterall, we had come to that point with me as an active priesthood holder. I had basically made a promise to her to never change or grow from my early 20-something beliefs for the rest of my life. I felt like my inability to gain a testimony was a betrayal to her. It tore me up inside and also filled me with fear that she would leave with the kids and divorce me.

    So, we struck a deal. I would keep up appearances for her sake. I told her that I couldn’t make myself receive a spiritual witness – only God could do that. And, when he did, I’d be happy to receive it. In the meantime, I’d just kind of go along. Years later, and it never happened.

    There is so much more to tell. Years of compromise, ebb and flow of conflict, underlying tension, lots of sacrifice. She hasn’t changed her position and neither have I. I have suffered a great deal of emotional pain. But, I love my family and feel it’s worth it to keep us together.

    Has this created marital distress? Of course. It is the one major issue that creates tension and pain in our marriage. When both partners in a marriage fully accept the church and its teachings, life can be great, I guess. However, when one’s faith fails in the church and the other remains faithful the pain and trials are severe. In my experience, the majority of this pain is due to social stigma associated with doubting in the LDS community. The LDS church can build families up, but it certainly can rip them to shreds as well.

  48. Anon
    January 20, 2015 at 10:53 am

    My husband was actually the 1st one who had a faith crisis, or maybe never really believed in the Church or God but faked it to look good & to get a wife in Mormonville. He was always an active unbelieving member.

    But as I begin to see that he wasn’t going to keep his marriage covenants or the commandments or love and respect me, I began to question things too.

    My faith crisis, or ‘doubts about the Church’ started when I saw that the Church actually encouraged, supported and rewarded men in their breaking marriage covenants and disrespecting and abandoning their wife and children and obligations, even including rolling out the red carpet and allowing men who abused or abandoned their wife to remarry another victim, even in the temple. Something totally against Christ’s teachings.

    So I finally saw it was not a true Church of Jesus Christ. For Christ would never allow such things.

    So after my husband divorced me, I left the Church completely, because it and it’s leaders all the way to the top, supported him and his abuse and abandonment of us, and because I finally learned that it never was a true church started by true prophets anyway.

    The leaders may say all the right things over the pulpit to sound good, but they do the opposite behind closed doors.

    But many of your insightful podcasts have helped me understand why the Church supports abuse and abandonment of spouses, for I learned that most LDS Prophets from Joseph Smith to today have done such to their wives and children too and don’t respect women generally or the marriage covenant, nor do they follow Christ who preached against just such things.

    Now I only believe in Christ who was the strongest defender of women and marriage.

  49. Bob the Builder
    January 20, 2015 at 10:55 am

    My wife and I were married in the SL Temple by a General Authority, both born in the church, lived the gospel and have had very high profile leadership callings. I served a mission and we married right after I got home. I the gospel doctrine teacher in a ward with two GA’s who I knew well, a mission president and the stake president when I started having significant doubts. I was teaching doctrine and covenants and really struggling to teach a productive lesson and not be a hypocrite. I would talk to my wife about my issues and she would just deflect the discussion and tell me to have more faith. One day, during a lesson with both GA’s, the SP, and the MP in the room someone asked me, in front of everyone “why did Joseph Smith marry 14 year olds and other mens wives” I remember distinctly fumbling through wording just praying that one of the 4 leaders in the room would bail me out. They didn’t. After a few minutes of trying to fumble through the answer I finally just said “I really have no idea why he did this, can we please move on with the lesson”. The following Tuesday I went in and saw the Bishop and asked to be released. I have not been back to church since.

    So for about a year we decided that my wife could take my 3 kids to church and I would not influence them. But once they turned 12 they could decided whether or not they wanted to go or not. This only impacted my youngest daughter as my two sons were teenagers, one of which was getting ready to serve a mission. While still TBM’s our oldest son came out as gay. Both my wife and I supported him fully. He decided to serve a mission which I thought was a huge mistake, but as part of our deal to not influence them I supported him. During this time it was really hard on our marriage and I was pretty sure we weren’t going to make it as the disconnect caused significant issues at home. We were really headed for divorce and I had just accepted it. Then something happened.

    My oldest son left for his mission. He made the mistake of telling his mission president that he was gay but wasn’t acting on it and wasn’t sure how he was going to approach his life. The mission president called Salt Lake and they forced him to go to a counselor (church one) to force him to not be gay. We had the pleasure of watching this from the sideline and it infuriated me as before this started he was enjoying his mission and was the top baptizing missionary in the mission. In the end he left his mission after a year as he couldn’t deal with it anymore. He came home, went back to school and hasn’t been back to church since.

    The experience in the mission saved my marriage. My wife was able to see first hand how messed up the church is and how poorly they treat people, even missionaries. As part of this she agreed to start looking at issues I had. She was amazed to find that her husband wasn’t a hard core anti, but had some real concerns. As this process was going on, our marriage literally healed itself. She ended up leaving the church as well, as did our other two kids and we are all doing awesome now. Our marriage is perfect and our lives are great.

    Had our son not had this experience I am pretty sure that my wife and I would have divorced over the church. Naturally I am forever grateful to my oldest son for the way he handled this situation and for giving his mom the view into how the church actually operates.

  50. Anonymous
    January 20, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I was in my seventh year of marriage- after being married in the temple. I was active in the church and kept my covenants. A neighbor lady in my ward let me know that my ex wife had been having an extra-marital affair with her husband- a sexual and emotional affair.

    As my ex wife had been caught- and didn’t come clean on her own volition- she was very upset, and admitted it was her fault- that she loved me but wanted to “have her cake and eat it too,” was caught up in the excitement etc…

    As the dust settled- we sought help and counseling for our marriage- and worked on reconciliation- however as my ex wife now had time to reflect, and construct a narrative on why this happened, all blame was shifted to me- because of religion.

    I had been open with my ex wife, in private, that I didn’t have a testimony of the truth claims of the church, or Christianity, and I didn’t enjoy going to the temple because I didn’t feel comfortable participating in the rituals- nor believe they were inspired of god, but rather lifted from Masonry and perverted to Joseph Smith’s ends. I was active in my calling, had a temple recommend and had kept my covenants.

    However- because I wasn’t attending the temple, and because I occasionally drank alcohol- My ex wife’s new narrative on why she cheated on me and our 3 children was that if I was taking her to the temple, holding weekly family home evenings and had never drank then she wouldn’t have been spiritually weak and strayed. This new narrative was latched onto by her family and friends who were LDS. To add insult to injury- as we separated, I moved out of state for employment, and so furthering my ex wife’s spiritually battered wife narrative- I abandoned my family- of course she wasn’t telling anyone she was sleeping with our ward friend/neighbor- All anyone saw was that we divorced and I moved. So she let the lie grow into a life of its own. Now for many of the people I have cared about most in my life- They think I’m a terrible person- when in reality our marriage would be together if we had two adults owning up to their weaknesses and not blaming them on religion.

  51. Ben
    January 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I discovered your podcast in November after having a faith crisis after reading the essays on polygamy and finding some flaws that lead to research and quickly finding several flaws and blatant lies on lds.org. Your podcast has helped me understand that I am not alone, and I think of it as a form of therapy and recovery for me. My spouse acknowledges the problems and just dismisses them and worries about the consequences to our eternal family and what this is doing to her. She has told me if I take off my garments that I am ending our family. Things are pretty rough right now, and I’m trying to find middle ground I can handle. The song Praise to the Man makes me borderline ill. Thanks for the podcast-it has made a big difference in my life and is helping me cope. I’m sorry about the excommunication-the church needs you and your work to help people like me come to terms with reality.

  52. Nameless in CA
    January 20, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Super Reader’s Digest version.

    It was many things, but most of all, learning the facts and reality behind the Book of Abraham was the final remaining piece of my ‘testimony’, after a mission, temple marriage, and 2 kids.

    My former wife is/was very devout and I knew that sharing my concerns would be very troubling to her. When I shared some of them, she immediately got a “revelation” from God that I was an evil person and dangerous to her and our children.

    My exwife secretly met with the bishop and told him I was an apostate and he advised her to divorce me, which she did.

    It was clear that after 13 years of marriage and 2 wonderful kids, that I was married to a church, not a person. I remember looking up the temple marriage ceremony and seeing that there was NOTHING about honoring, cherishing, or even loving each other. Both parties simply covenant to “observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances” of the church.

    3 months after our divorce was final, she married a super devout man in the temple. The church, supposedly about the FAMILY – killed my family.

    It’s been over 10 years now and I’m certainly over her but the damage this did to our kids has been brutal and will continue.

  53. Jenn
    January 20, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I am intersex, and the church’s teachings on gender and sexuality not only destroyed my life, but they also fooled me into dragging a wife and children into it.

    I was born looking male enough to be considered male, but I knew from a young age that something wasn’t right with that. My story was basically the same as a transgender narrative until I hit puberty and all biological hell broke loose. Despite a mixture of male and female development, my parents and church leaders tightened the screws and did everything they could to keep me on the male “straight and narrow”. I felt like I should be female, was at least part biologically female, and was attracted to both males and females. I don’t think I have to explain how the church made me feel, but I will say that the end result was PTSD.

    I kept at it and had an awful mission experience. After 12 weeks of feeling like a prisoner in the MTC and 6 weeks in the field, I went home. They were nice enough to give me a medical release so I didn’t get completely boned over.

    I married almost a year later. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, but she was really hurt when I told her I feel female and liked to borrow her clothes in private to feel right for short periods. Between that and the PTSD, we seemed to always be on the edge of divorce because her emotional needs were not being met.

    I already knew the church leaders were not perfect, but over time I learned of all the things others are discussing and slowly felt less and less like the church was true, but felt like maybe the leaders were apostates. Things like D&C 98 and 134 really resonated with me, but I saw with things like Prop 8 and the church building gun ban in Utah (a dirty political trick, no matter where you stand on guns) where the church was blatantly ignoring those scriptures.

    When I finally decided to live as a female in 2013, my wife was actually very supportive, but we’ve had marital stress off and on as she has flirted with going back to church. I initially tried to convince local leaders that I am intersex to try to get them to accept it, but they ignored all the medical evidence I presented and said that since I was eternally sealed to a female I couldn’t possibly be anything but male. After six months of inactivity, my wife started getting really distant when she wanted to go to church again, thinking that I wouldn’t let her. We tried to go for a while, but after three weeks in a row of the church leaders bashing gays, I couldn’t stay and we quit going again.

    The final straw was when my brother got married in the temple and I couldn’t go along. Ultimately, she couldn’t change her sexual orientation for me any more than I could change my gender identity for her, and she needs a man. Our compromise now is that I will present as a man part time and as a woman part time so all of our needs can get met instead of one party or the other getting screwed over entirely.

    Ideally, I would have transitioned as a teen and never dragged a family into this, but the church and family prevented me from exercising that option. We both feel very bitter about that, but we have been through a lot together and love each other, so we want to make it work rather than divorcing. She attends church as do the kids, but we understand that I am not going to particpate unless the church changes.

  54. Joe
    January 20, 2015 at 11:24 am

    After my wife learned more about polygamy and how we believed we would live that law in the Celestial Kingdom, she demanded that we get a temple divorce but remain civilly married. That put huge amounts of stress and I wasn’t even sure that was even possible – remaining married members but get a temple divorce. Saying I won’t do polygamy in the next life or that your attitude will change did not help. We both ended up resigning to save the marriage and to get things better.

  55. ChildofMormonDivorce
    January 20, 2015 at 11:26 am

    So I have a different perspective here.

    I’m the child of a mormon divorce. The divorce was completely centered around the mormon church. But it’s quite inverted from everyone else’s stories. My mom is hugely anti-mormon, but in a hateful way. She was never mormon, her entire family hates mormons. It’s like a cat and water. They just don’t get along. My dad fell away from the church when he was 18 and his dad disowned him. My mom and dad got married, and my mom loved it, because my dad had disdain for the church like my mom did.

    Well then I was born, and I was the first grandchild for my dad’s parents. So they decided they would allow my dad back into his life. Because of this, he renewed his testimony and went back to the church.

    My mom was pissed, and being the narcissists she is, emotionally abused and neglected both my dad and I. My dad never pushed the religion on me, and still hasn’t. He would take me to church with him when my mom was in the hospital, because he didn’t want to leave me at home, but he never forced me to do more than I wanted.

    My mom was just psychotic though. And so the bishop of my dad’s ward suggested to my dad divorce. Now this was before divorce was a “popular” option. The bishop claimed that he should divorce my mom and have me baptized and sealed to him. My dad wasn’t about it, believing that I should make my own choices. SO the bishop drove a greater stake between my parents, thus leading to divorce, and thus leading to a suicidal father.

    A couple years after the divorce, with my dad holding on to the only thing he had left, his integrity of being a father, read a talk by President Eyering, and found strength to live.

    Sure it may have been under a false church. But however false the church, it has taught my dad integrity and love. Two things my mother never showed me. And he has NEVER pushed the teachings on me. And I have not taken them.

    Years later, according to my dad. Things would’ve been solvable, had the bishop at the time not insulted my mother the way he did. Apparently he was the reason for the divorce and the reason my mom had the psychotic break she did.

    So f@#! you Bishop. You are just a man, not inspired by god. You do not have knowledge on couples counselling, and you sure as hell do not know the right words to say to mend a family. Maybe teaching tolerance and acceptance before teaching to give up would’ve helped my dad not go through that terrible time in his life. And put my mother through the psychotic break she is in now.

    F@#! you.

  56. Eve Hart
    January 20, 2015 at 11:28 am

    This is going to be long, because I’m not capable of writing something pithy.

    My story starts with interning as an editor for the Liahona in January 2013. I got engaged the same month to my boyfriend. The Liahona and Ensign had combined meetings every month to brainstorm ideas for the next issue (we work a year ahead of publication). One of my ideas was to do a series on Old Testament prophets to help new members get to know them. Each month, there was a short first-person biography about one of the prophets with scripture references.

    I worked on the first three narratives: Adam, Noah, and Abraham. I was really dedicated to my work. Not only did I read scriptures and the Bible Dictionary, I dug through our library of dusty texts and compared the Mormon narrative to those of other faiths.

    I got through Adam and Noah without any incidents other than teetering stacks of books on the edge of my desk. Then there was Abraham (I’m sure you can guess what happened next).

    I found it helpful to read about Adam and Noah on Wikipedia because there was usually information about Mormon doctrine. I did the same for Abraham. So I suppose I have Wikipedia to blame for the beginning of my faith crisis. I learned about the Book of Abraham–a text near and dear to my heart–and its inconsistencies with the actual Egyptian translation of its source material.

    This must have been sometime in March, about a month before the end of my internship and my temple wedding. I can’t begin to explain how devastated I was. Reading about Joseph Smith’s botched translation of the papyri the church had bought in 1835 caused me to ask myself what else I had taken for granted when it came to my testimony of the church.

    I wasn’t sure how this would affect my testimony, so I posed a hypothetical question to my fiance. “What would happen if I became inactive?” I asked him. At the time, I thought that was the worst that could happen.

    He pledged his support and insisted that he still wanted to be married. We both figured we could get through this small setback together. Then I had to figure out whether I could get past this faith crisis to qualify for a recommend for my temple wedding. I eventually decided that I could accept the apologetic reasons behind the Book of Abraham’s unorthodox translation.

    And that was that. I got married in the temple on April 26.

    I can’t remember the timing of what happened next. I decided that in order to strengthen my testimony, or to prepare me to solve other people’s concerns, I was going to take a risk and learn about the famed anti-Mormon questions I’d always heard about. I remembered a BYU-Idaho speaker who gave a talk about getting a list of 20 anti-Mormon disputes about Mormonism. He said that he had been able to resolve all 20 of them over the years. If he can do it, I can to, I thought.

    I thought that anti-Mormon material consisted of 1990s-era websites with cheesy graphics and misspelled rants about Mormonism. The worst arguments were probably about Mormons baptizing physically dead people in the temple–and of course we didn’t. Problem solved. Of course, I had the Book of Abraham at the back of my mind, and I wondered what else I hadn’t been taught. But I thought the BoA was the beginning and the end of my problems.

    I was so, so wrong.

    I started with Mormon Think, which seemed the most trustworthy. Everything I had ever believed completely crumbled under the weight of new information. Apologetics could not counterbalance the crush of the things I read about–the Kinderhook plates, Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy and polyandry, Book of Mormon inaccuracies, etc.

    I considered myself an agnostic atheist by August 2013 (about 6 months after the BoA debacle). And I had not been a casual Mormon. I had served a mission, which I extended an extra month and a half. I had read the entire quadruple combination by the time I was 12. I had read the Book of Mormon multiple times. I had been an extremely pious and steadfast Mormon.

    The best way I can explain my disaffection was that I absorbed each issue one by one, did my best to convince myself that I would understand the inconsistencies after this life, and eventually decided there were too many issues. I couldn’t shoulder the mental gymnastics of the apologetic explanations for problem after problem–I eventually accepted that the simplest explanations had to be true (i.e. I embraced the “anti-Mormon” answers).

    My husband knew that I was struggling, but he didn’t know how much until I came out (unwillingly) to my sisters. My husband and I briefly talked about the consequences of my lack of belief, but he quickly quashed any worries and expressed his desire to stay married.

    I mostly kept my thoughts to myself. My husband and I had a few flare-ups that convinced me we couldn’t talk about church or my thoughts without consequences. My husband had heard about some of the issues I discussed with him from his parents, and he had no problems with those things. He’d had a very spiritual experience gaining his testimony, so his conviction that the Holy Ghost had spoken to him couldn’t be sullied by debatable facts.

    In June of 2014, we had one of our flare ups, and my husband told me that he thought we should divorce. I was shocked–I didn’t even know he had been thinking about divorce. He confessed to me that he had gone to the temple and asked about divorce, and God had given his consent if that’s what my husband wanted to do.

    Neither of us had been going to church (both of us struggled with anxiety disorders and lacked energy to go to early-morning church). He told me that my lack of belief had increased his anxiety and caused his reluctance to read scriptures, pray, and go to church. (Who knows how much of this is actually my fault.)

    “I think we should get a divorce,” he told me. We couldn’t be married for eternity, so what was the point of being married in this life? he mused. I wasn’t going to be the mother who would actively teach his children about God and counsel them to follow the prophet and build Lego models of the First Vision…okay, maybe not the last part.

    I sobbed uncontrollably. But I composed myself, thinking we could reason together and figure things out. I canceled my upcoming editorial internship with Deseret Book and flew home for the next week instead, thinking that if I gave my husband space, he would cool off.

    My husband called the next day to say he was moving out. By the end of the week, he had moved all of his things into a new apartment in single student housing. I returned to my married student apartment with no one to share it with.

    I started my new job the next week. My husband and I still spent time together and had date nights, but he didn’t want to spend every day together and would usually go back to his own apartment. He finally filed for divorce this past October.

    The thing is, we both still love each other. It’s just impossible for my husband to see how we could reconcile our differences when it came to rearing future kids. There is a “right” way to do it, and I can no longer teach the right way.

    I’ve finally gotten to the point where I believe I can survive despite the embarrassment, tragedy, and excruciating sadness I’ve felt over the loss of my spouse and the thing that guided my life–my testimony of the church.

    John’s work with Mormon Stories is the one thing that kept me together through my faith and marriage crises. I felt like I wasn’t alone in my struggles. I didn’t need Mormon Stories to learn about the issues. I learned those elsewhere. I needed Mormon Stories to illuminate what I had already learned and to give me deeper understanding. I needed it to help me feel less alone.

    If I had been a stronger person, I might still be attending church, if only because John made it seem possible. But the best thing for me, what with an anxiety disorder–I have OCD and struggled with scrupulosity (notice it’s mostly past tense)–was to leave the church behind.

    John’s work with Mormon Stories should be commended by the church, not condemned. It’s not detracting from the church’s narrative about historical issues. I, and a lot of people like me, had already rejected the apologetic narrative before coming to Mormon Stories. So there’s no loss there. I feel that far more people would leave the church altogether without Mormon Stories. More stay because of it. And people like me who do leave are still connected to the church in some way with it.

  57. Jason
    January 20, 2015 at 11:31 am

    When I told my wife that I could no longer believe in the Book of Mormon, and therefore had to question every thing about the LDS church, her trust in me dropped to zero. I was accused of breaking our marital covenants and when I later couldn’t even believe in God anymore, at least not in the Mormon way, she thought I had a mental illness. The way forward was murky for both of us. I was in extreme pain, but couldn’t turn to her for any support and that affected my emotional connection with her. In the early months of our struggle we discovered the Mormon Stories podcast. My wife wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say about the church and didn’t want to entertain any possibility that I was acting with integrity or that there might be legitimate concerns that would lead to my new outlook. However, there were a couple of Mormon Stories guests that she would listen to because she found them less threatening. One example was the Hans and Birgitta Mattsson interview. That one helped in two ways. First, my wife saw that a good, faithful, sincere person could run into faith questions that are very difficult to resolve, if they can be resolved at all. It helped a lot for her to hear Birgitta’s side of the story. Second, at the end of the interview there is a short bit where the Mattsson’s comment on marriage and how a faith difference shouldn’t break up a couple. We knew we wanted to work things out after hearing that. I have turned back to their words several times to gain strength in moving forward.

    We have continued to have a rough time many months after I left the church. Recently, my wife took significant steps toward a divorce including consulting with a lawyer, identifying a place to live, finding a personal therapist who advocated for divorce and notifying me of her intentions to separate. We have been able to dial this back a bit and step back from the cliff for now with the help of a skilled marriage counselor who has an approach that is working for us.

    If it were up to the resources available through the church, our marriage would be over. We are finding that, despite our differences, we can trust each other and can enjoy emotional intimacy. We have to rebuild those things. It is so difficult and volatile that I have considered giving up and moving on to perhaps find a relationship with a person more compatible. But there is more hope very recently than we have had in a while due to the counseling. One of the keys was finding a person who wouldn’t moralize my choice to leave Christianity or take my wife’s side because I no longer can believe in God. He can relate to me on the secular side, but has a religious background and can relate to my wife’s worldview at the same time. It’s hard to find a person like this. I view John Dehlin as one rare person who can.

    Thank you to John for producing the Mormon Stories podcasts. They were not the source of me discovering problems with the LDS church, but they have been invaluable in helping me and my family figure out what to do about it.

  58. Greg
    January 20, 2015 at 11:31 am

    The crisis I experienced was difficult for my wife to accept for many years. In an effort to keep things peaceful, we wouldn’t discuss religious issues. I attended in support of her and our kids. Needless to say this only compounded the problem as neither of us could talk openly or freely about our concerns or beliefs. This created much tension and turmoil for us as she felt I was neglecting my duties in our home as a priesthood holder. I told her I could go through the motions and say the things that she wanted to hear, but I no longer felt them in my heart. I could no longer do those things and be true to myself.

    So we muddled through years of this conflict and turmoil until we found out about our gay teenage son. I was already far removed from what the church teaches about homosexuality and accepted this news without any problem. For my wife this was upsetting, hard to imagine life going forward, and took time to process. She felt like all was lost until she was able to read Carol Lynn Pearson’s books and connect with other mothers about this issue. Then she became more open to hearing some of the other issues I had during my faith crisis.

    We have now become more closely aligned with what our perspectives are on religion and spirituality. We are however still going through a divorce. It has been too little too late as the turmoil we experienced had us growing apart emotionally for years.

    Thanks John for what you’ve done in helping families through this. I didn’t come across your information until more recently, and even though it didn’t save our marriage, it helped us to understand each other better and I think has helped us in moving forward as parents and human beings respectful of one another in the path we choose to follow.

  59. withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I would likely be divorced today if it were not for Mormon Stories. And in my case that would have been a tragedy. When I came across troubling information about the church and shared my doubts with my wife it took our marriage to the very edge. We struggled for almost two years, both of us wanting to stay married but neither of us knowing how we could get back to where we were. John Dehlin and the many people who participate in Mormon Stories helped me understand what my wife was experiencing, taught me to be empathetic, and gave me the hope and courage that I needed to continue to love and support my wife through the treacherous waters that we were navigating. People on this forum understood the depth of my struggles. And they had healthy suggestions that helped me through my trial. I eventually learned through Mormon Stories of a therapist who my wife and I met with and who helped us get back to where we were.

    For a while I was angry with the church for not doing more to help people in my situation. To be sure, it tries on occasion. There are church articles and talks aimed at helping Mormon couples in faith crises. But for some reason these writings fall short. They feel like half efforts. I used to think this was because the church doesn’t really care about people like me who lose their faith. I have since come to believe that it cares deeply. It just doesn’t fully understand what to do or how to help. It appears at times to lack the ability to empathize with those who lose their faith (and in fairness there are also those who lose their faith who lack the ability to empathize with those who have not).

    So thank you John Dehlin and the many people who make Mormon Stories what it is. I firmly believe that this forum will continue to changes peoples’ lives in positive ways, because it offers healthy solutions to those who struggle with faith crises. And I believe that the church’s efforts to shut this forum down are misguided. We could all use a little more empathy.

  60. January 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Coppied from my reply on Reddit – YellowDogWagging 5 points an hour ago*

    I am still probably not out of the woods but much better than I have been for well over 2 years.

    My DW immediately began getting angry more and treating me badly. Very passive aggressive asking me things like, “how can we dissolve our temple sealing. Verbal abuse and pot-shots were aimed at me at every turn. Sometimes were better or much worse than others. This is the roller-coaster people describe.

    Contemplating divorce and the fact that Mothers in Utah usually skate in court gaining almost exclusive custody of children which obviously includes child-support and probably alimony. I love my children and the thought of losing them was killing me and much more stress than I could endure long term. I try to be the best father and husband I can and to my wife’s credit she did stick up for me in various interviews with the local “authorities” and clearly stated that I have never treated her badly, cheated or abused her or anyone else even though they would hint at that as if it was a card they could play.

    Day after day stress of worrying about my children, my marriage and future eventually helped me to slide into long periods of depression. I considered and dreamed up various self destructive acts but the thoughts of that burden falling on to my children would help me through. However having maintained a belief in God through all this I would pray almost every night and day that he would just “take me”. I began to forego the use of my helmet while riding my motorcycle or consciously taking off my seat-belt while driving in the freeway or anywhere I thought a wreck may have a high chance of being fatal. Again I didn’t get too crazy but wanted to let God have ample opportunity to take me.

    The depression would come and go sometimes lasting a weekend sometimes lasting multiple weeks. I was always sure to keep dark sunglasses around in case I could not control the tears. Some days I would have to leave work.

    As this dragged on the depression became so numbing that I began not to care. I began to dream again of a future which in most cases did not include my wife. I moved forward and decided it was her choice if she wanted to leave me. I still treated her very well but decided in my heart to try to let things go. This is only a few months ago where I reached this limit. I started to feel almost a little vengeance thinking, “Go ahead, leave me, move on but I would bet a million you wont’ find another husband as loving and understanding and I will NEVER come back to this pain!”

    About that time her brother came over to visit her while I was at work and had a very long talk. He is a Bishop in Provo. He really laid on the guilt about her not reaching the Celestial kingdom without a worthy husband. I have not heard the full details but he did put her on the spot. As mad is that makes me it also seemed to be good as she felt forced to make a decision. She thought about all I do and how loving I have been through our 15 years of marriage. Never once hiding things or keeping money from her, we share everything. She thought about how much the kids love me. She finally told him the magic words that I feel has put our recover in motion. She told him she would not leave me. He pushed her again, “are you sure”? She continued and stated she believed we would be together in the next life and that she does not believe a mere membership here in this life would determine our afterlife.

    She began to treat me human again. and excitedly told me honey I have really decided we will stay together. And disclosed some of her talk with her brother-bishop. Since then she has helped me come up with the plans of when and if I will fully resign and mentioned if the local ward and neighbors gossip she will bail too.

    For the first time in two years my stress level has begun to drop, I feel healthier and my excess weight seems to slowly be coming off now – maybe less stress=lower cortisol?

    I have seen so many marriages bit the dust. In the ‘Former Mormon with Believing Spouse’ support group there is a constant flow of people that have tried and tried over months or even years and finally come to the conclusion that divorce is the only answer to once again find love and acceptance. As of right now I feel we have managed to avoid that fate but it has not been easy.

    Edit Add: MS did help me. Hearing voices of people going through the same thing, people who understand. Among the stress hearing JD among others kid of going a long to get along still involved with the church helped me with my involvement. It helped me see that I was not acting staring somewhat involved out of hypocrisy but out of love for my children. There were nights I would just put in my headphones and let MS take me to a place where not all the problems were my problems and not all the pain was my pain. The only thing that made me angry with it is that the church should have taken the initiative to do something like MS. They have created this place of coercion and threat of losing family you would think with all their correlated goodness they could come up with a system to help those in faith crisis.

    • January 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Sorry… I made a bunch of mistakes too and don’t see how to modify or edit the comments. Most the stentenes you can figure out by context. If you need clarification feel free to contact me.

    • January 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      **TYPE-O and word corrections**

      Copied from my reply on Reddit – YellowDogWagging 5 points an hour ago*

      I am still probably not out of the woods but much better than I have been for well over 2 years.
      When I opened up to my wife she immediately began getting angry more and treating me badly. She was very passive aggressive asking me things like, “Since it doesn’t mean anything to you, how can we dissolve our temple sealing?” Verbal abuse and pot-shots were aimed at me at every turn. Sometimes were better or much worse than others. This is the roller-coaster people describe.

      I contemplated divorce and the fact that Mothers in Utah usually skate in court gaining almost exclusive custody of children which obviously includes child-support and probably alimony. I love my children and the thought of losing them was killing me and much more stress than I could endure long term. I try to be the best father and husband I can and to my wife’s credit she did stick up for me in various interviews with the local “authorities” and clearly stated that I have never treated her badly, cheated or abused her or anyone else even though they would hint at that as if it were sneaky card they could play. In fact as I think back at those insinuations it actually brings out the anger I now have towards the church.

      Day after day stress of worrying about my children, my marriage and future eventually caused me to slide into long periods of depression. I considered and dreamed up various self destructive acts but the thoughts of that burden falling on to my children would help me through the moment. However having maintained a belief in God through all this I would pray almost every night and day that he would just “take me”. I began to forego the use of my helmet while riding my motorcycle or consciously taking off my seat-belt while driving in the freeway or anywhere I thought a wreck may have a high chance of being fatal. Again I didn’t get too crazy but wanted to let God have ample opportunity to take me. The depression would come and go sometimes lasting a weekend sometimes lasting multiple weeks. I was always sure to keep dark sunglasses around in case I could not control the tears. Some days I would have to leave work. Though I am not big into alcohol, occasionally when alone I would even drink to cover up the pain.

      As this dragged on the depression became so numbing that I began not to care. I began to dream again of a future which in most cases no longer included my wife. I moved forward and decided it was her choice if she wanted to leave me. With my doubts she saw me as “unworthy” and treated me as less of a person. I still treated her very well but decided in my heart to try to just let things go. This is only a few months ago where I finally reached this limit. I even started to feel a little bit of vengeance thinking, “Go ahead, leave me, move on but I would bet a million you will never find another husband as loving and understanding and I will NEVER come back to this pain!”

      About that time her brother came over to visit her while I was at work and had a very long talk. He is a Bishop in Provo. He really laid on the guilt about her not reaching the Celestial kingdom without a worthy husband. I have not heard the full details but he did put her on the spot. As mad is that makes me it also seemed to be good as she felt “forced” to make a decision. She thought about all I do and how loving I have been through out our 15 years of marriage. Never once hitting her or hiding things or selfishly keeping money from her, we share everything. She thought about how much the kids love me. She finally told him the magic words that I feel has put our recovery in motion. She told him she would not leave me. He pushed her again, “are you sure”? She continued and stated she believed we would be together in the next life and that she does not believe a mere membership here in this life would determine our afterlife or salvation.

      It seems the church tried its best to destroy our family but I think we have broken free. She began to treat me human again. Around Christmas she excitedly told me. “Honey, I have really decided once and for all we will stay together”. She disclosed some of her talk with her brother the bishop. Since then she has helped me come up with the plans of when and if I will fully resign from the church and even mentioned if our local ward and neighbors gossip that she will leave too!

      For the first time in over two years my stress levels has begun to drop, My depression is nearly completely gone. I feel healthier and my excess weight seems to slowly be coming off now – maybe less stress=lower cortisol? Even though things are not perfectly resolved I do feel alive again.

      It is so sad, I have seen so many marriages that have failed. In the ‘Former Mormons with Believing Spouse’ support group there is a constant flow of people that have tried and tried over months or even years and finally come to the conclusion that divorce is the only answer to once again experience love and acceptance in this lifetime. So many times you will see a last ditch effort by the believing spouse to attempt to show love but only their spouse has given up, filed papers and in the process of separating. As of right now I feel we have managed to avoid that fate but it has not been easy.

      The Mormon Story MS Podcast DID help me. Hearing the voices of people going through the same exact thing, people who understand. Among the stress hearing John among others kind of going a long with the church and being involved with the church helped me with my involvement. It helped me see that I was not acting or staying somewhat involved out of dishonesty or hypocrisy but out of love for my family and children. There were nights I would just put on my headphones and let MS take me to a place where not all the problems were my problems and not all the pain was my pain, understanding and relief with no alcohol or drugs. The thing that really made me angry with it is that The Church should have taken the initiative to do something like Mormon Stories or a support group. They have created and reinforced this relationship full of coercion and threat of losing family you would think with all their correlated goodness they could come up with a system to help those in faith crisis. While The Church preaches humility, honesty, repentance insisting members ask forgiveness the leadership refuses to lead by example. On one hand they give excuses for leaders as mere imperfect men yet on the other hand uphold the problems such as racism, dishonesty, refusing to ask forgiveness or even show love towards doubters as though they have indeed reached perfection. – Pretty sad.

  61. C
    January 20, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Reading the stories is heartbreaking. I was so lucky my wife handled my faith crisis so well. Initially it was a shock to her (which is understandable), and it definitely affected us both personally, which affected the dynamics of our relationship. We didn’t really “fight” about it, but it absolutely affected every aspect of each of our lives, including our relationship.

    It took almost 2 years, but one day we both said, “Hey, we’re back!” ..That was a great day. It’s been smooth sailing since.

    John, your ‘Top 5 Myths and Truths about Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church’ helped me not be angry, and really helped me understand what I was going through. My wife also found this video helpful. I have listened and read several other pieces of your work and shared it with friends who were also navigating a faith transition. While it did not keep me in the Church indefinitely, your work, made me much less angry and really helped me to understand what I was experiencing. Your work with New Order Mormons kept me attending for about 8 months longer than I would have on my own.

    I feel that your work is a bridge–it bridges the gap between apostate and true believing Mormon. All of the exMormons I know who listen to your podcast, and read your work, have a greater understanding, and therefore a greater empathy than those who do not (this may not necessarily be causal, but I have definitely seen a correlation).

    I know your work has brought me more understanding and empathy, it has taken away a lot of the anger I initially harbored towards the Church, and it helped me talk to my parents constructively about my decision.

    Thank you John. Good luck moving forward.

  62. January 20, 2015 at 11:46 am

    A few years ago I was serving as Young Men’s President, a calling in which I had served frequently in the past.

    My family tended to “adopt” young men and young women whose parents were either not around or not members of the church. One of these young men approached me after evangelical Christians at school had told him horrid things about the church.

    I had encountered these kinds of wild claims against the church while serving as a missionary. I served faithfully for two years, working as hard as possible. I had risen in the missionary ranks and spent the last six months as the Assistant to the President. I was known as the Elder to call when investigators were being harassed by their former pastors.

    It had been a while since I had defended the church so I started researching looking for solid answers to help this young man.

    It turns out the anti-Mormons were telling the truth.

    I was devastated.

    At about the same time I was called to serve on the Stake High Council, again a calling that I had previously filled.

    I accepted and strengthened my devotion, working hard to rise to the trust that the Lord had placed in me. I continued to investigate the claims made by these anti-Mormons. And as I dug deeper I became more and more unhappy because it turns out they were true. (This was a few years ago, prior to the church coming clean about some of the nasty aspects of its history).

    My Bishop had never heard of these problems. He assigned a senior missionary to rescue me. This older man had worked in the church office building, preparing the Joseph Smith Relief Society and Priesthood manual. He was very familiar with these issues and confirmed the facts that I had discovered. He also warned me that if I shared these facts with my family that my family would be destroyed, taken from me.

    I counselled with my Stake President, but he was unfamiliar with any of the issues and suggested I study the scriptures more. At the time I was studying the scriptures deeply as I wrestled with the ugly realisation that the church was not honest in all its dealings.

    The senior missionary told me that I was being tested and prepared for greater things in the church.

    I continued to study and learn as much as I could until about six months later when I found myself walking my oldest (step) daughter to school. I was about 37 and she was about 14. I realised that Joseph Smith had had an affair with his stepdaughter when the age gap was more or less the same as ours. Coincidentally the next Sunday they sang “Praise to the man” as the opening hymn in sacrament meeting. I felt sick.

    After church I prayed long and hard for Heavenly Father to explain the confusion in my mind. A gentle peaceful feeling came upon me. I knew then that the answer was that Joseph Smith had made it all up. It was the only answer that made sense.

    I spoke with my wife about it.

    She saw my belief as a betrayal of everything that she held dear. I felt like I was stepping out of the darkness and into the light.

    Up until that time we had a peaceful marriage, we were great friends and enjoyed wonderful times together. That stopped that Sunday afternoon.

    When I told the senior missionary couple about my feeling of peace they accused me (in front of my wife and children) of being addicted to pornography and of having an affair. Both of those were false. I had I had only once accidentally looked at pornography when I was working as a young engineer at a printing press. I quickly looked away, sang a hymn and prayed hard for those images to be removed from my thoughts. I had never contemplated being unfaithful and loved my wife.

    Those who I considered my friends in the ward and stake ostracised me. At best I was looked on as deluded, at worst as dangerous to them and their faith.

    I stopped attending church.

    My wife, relatives and ward members did their best to disenfranchise me as a parent. My kids were young and they were easily influenced to know that deadly was a bad man.

    I thought about suicide.

    But something inside me was driving me to be a better man, a more loving person. I tried harder not to judge and to be truly charitable.

    It didn’t help, the seeds of doubt had been sown.

    My wife turned to the Internet for help. She used the “ask an apologist” feature at some website (FAIR if I remember right) to test the validity of my discoveries.

    She would bring these arguments to the table and explain why I was wrong. Contention and unhappiness replaced love in our marriage.

    She threw herself into church activity. She was away almost every night.

    During this period the ward assigned the High Priest Group Leader to look after my family’s spiritual well-being. He inserted himself as a replacement “good Mormon father” and priesthood example. He took my sons to the father and son’s camp. He took my wife to the temple. He was my wife’s spiritual confidant.

    This uncomfortable state persisted for another four years until she no longer needed to be married to remain in the country legally. She started divorce proceedings the day our permanent residence was approved.

    A short time after the divorce was finalised she married the High Priest Group Leader. They did their best to destroy my relationship with my children.

    I worked hard to keep this relationship alive, it was a difficult and uncomfortable time. Possibly the worst in my entire life.

    Sadly for my now ex-wife she found that the High Priest Group Leader was not the man she had hoped for and started divorce proceedings a week after returning from honeymoon.

    My children were devastated. They seem to be living in a soap opera.

    I’ll skip forward a couple of years.

    My ex-wife decided that she didn’t want to be a mother any more and moved away with her new boyfriend. My children live with me and we are happy.

    My oldest daughter is a lukewarm member.

    My youngest three children hate the church in spite of me telling them that there is much good in its teachings. They have seen for themselves what the church did to our family.

  63. me-my-mamma
    January 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Ever since I can remember I have felt disconnected to the teachings of the church. I knew absolutely nothing I know now when it comes to all of the issues the church has. All I knew is that it never made me feel warm and fuzzy like it did everyone else. I was going to church for the social part of it but I didn’t get much out of it. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great. Just kind of neutral. When I met my husband we never talked in detail about anything pertaining to the church. We just assumed we agreed and thought the same when it came to our beliefs. He assumed I loved reading my scriptures and saying my prayers and that i had the burning desire to attend the temple every month and to his awful surprise that wasn’t the case. I assumed that because religion never defined who I was or how I lived my life that it couldn’t be that big of a deal in his life…and I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life! The church is a VERY VERY big part of who he is. He loves it and it works for him. It makes him happy. And although its sometimes really annoying that he doesn’t see the world like I do…He’s doing what feels good to him right now. The hard part is that he isn’t as accepting of where I am. The church has a way of making its members sometimes think they aren’t able to function in this “scary world” without it. In my opinion this is one of the most damaging things about the church. If the church would simply teach that it works for some people and NOT for everyone…that would have made a world of difference in my situation. Its hard to convince him otherwise because he’s been taught since he was little that this is the only way to truly be happy and blessed…is by going to church, saying our prayers morning and night, attending the temple every month, wearing our garments, partaking of the sacrament every week, fulfilling our callings, keeping the sabbath day holy…etc. etc. ETC.!!! It makes me sad sometimes. Im not sure how long it’ll take for him to fully accept where I am with things but we’re taking it a day at a time. Im so thankful to Mormon Stories Podcasts for being my go to when i need to feel validated. It has helped me know how to deal with the TBM mentality and how to react and bring up difficult conversations that I would have otherwise really screwed up. Thanks to John Dehlin for everything you do! You’re one of my favorites. Keep doing what you’re doing and good luck this weekend! Not sure my prayers make it to heaven so I’ll be thinking about you and your family!! Thanks again.

  64. Jamie Clark
    January 20, 2015 at 11:54 am

    John, my husband started his faith crisis about a year ahead of me. He had questions that just couldn’t be answered by scripture or church leaders. In his search, he came across historical facts that we were always told was actually anti-mormon information, but that the church has now been forced to concede that it is true. I hurt for my husband and was scared what this might do to our family. I had thoughts of asking for a separation so that his crisis didn’t effect our children. I couldn’t understand why he was hurting, everything seemed fine to me at church. But I knew he was getting comfort from Mormon Stories and Mormon Voices because he didn’t feel alone. He found that he was one of many feeling like this. I listened to several of the podcasts with my husband and they really helped both of us stay together and remain in the church for another year or two. It wasn’t till the essays started coming out that we had our own realization that this was a man made religion. But our journey, which could have separated us, kept us together largely in part because of your work. We were never swayed in our opinions by your podcasts as you always had a fair balance of voices and a desire to only share historical facts largely with a faith based approach. We made our decision to leave the church together as a family because of the church, not because of you. We stayed together as a family not because of the church, but because of you. Thank you!

  65. Andrew
    January 20, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Before my faith transition, my wife and I had our normal ups and downs like any couple, but nothing that would have pushed either of us to seriously consider divorce. For the most part, most of the time, we were happy together. But when I informed her I no longer believed the foundational truth claims of Mormonism and didn’t feel any obligation to comply with any peculiarly LDS rules, she freaked out and flipped out. The next year was the worst year of my life. For the next entire year, she alternated between treating me like I didn’t exist, or with open animosity chewing me out and insulting me for one thing or another. When I started frequently fantasizing about suicide, I moved out into a condo two blocks away so I could get some space from her but still be as close to the kids as possible. She and my TBM parents then tried to deprive me of all time with my kids, as a way of manipulating me back into the marriage and Mormonism. My children were used as pawns in a power struggle to force me to become an active, fully-compliant Mormon again. They lost that battle, we divorced but I got custody of my kids nearly 50% of the time. The happy ending is that I found my perfect match, an ex-Mormon woman, and we are now happily married with a baby of our own.

  66. Will
    January 20, 2015 at 11:56 am

    ** Sorry this is so long, John. Happy to give an abridged version if needed.

    BACKGROUND

    I began having doubts about the LDS church being the one true church in about 2009, just months before I got married. I talked it over with a bishop who encouraged me to have faith and be obedient. I was confident that God would give me the spiritual assurance that I was doing the right thing in time. I doubled down on my scripture studies, attended church and institute faithfully, fulfilled my callings, talked over any sins I had in my life with my bishop, etc. I got married assuming the spiritual assurance I needed would come but it just never seemed to show up. Nobody can tell me I didn’t try with everything I had – I got married in the temple on pure faith that all would work out and I was doing the right thing. It’s hard to take a bigger risk than that.

    THE CONFRONTATION

    I decided it was time to face my doubts head on. If the church was true, I could face them and my faith would win. I had no idea what I was in for. I found out all sorts of troubling things about Joseph Smith and early church history. The strong vibrant testimony I once had was hanging by a thread. I was scared to death to tell my wife, but I eventually got the courage to do so when she confronted me on why I had been less than enthusiastic about church-related activities, scripture study, etc. Her immediate reaction was very typical. She told me I was deceived by Satan and I can’t trust what I read online. I pointed her to a number of faithful sources, primarily Rough Stone Rolling and FamilySearch.org. (Later on the new topical essays became my primary sources for showing her and other family members I wasn’t totally nuts.) She threatened with divorce, told me I was ruining our family, and told me I couldn’t read anything negative about the church. I didn’t agree to her terms but I put my studies on hold for a time. I felt very alone and betrayed by an organization I once loved with all my heart. I reached out to an ex-Mormon group online because I didn’t know where else I could talk to someone. I found dozens of very friendly loving people who helped me. None of them encouraged me to leave the church – they encouraged me to keep my family together and do what’s most healthy for me. Some of these people were licensed therapists (including Robert Baumgardner – see http://packham.n4m.org/marriage.pdf). I didn’t tell my wife at first because she had been so unsupportive of what I had been studying and learning and she was a big part of why I felt so alone and rejected. She eventually found out I had been talking to ex-Mormons and things got much worse. She left the home with the kids for a few days and threatened divorce again. She told me she wasn’t sure if she even loved me anymore or if she wanted to. I apologized profusely for not telling her I had reached out to others – I knew it was wrong to not tell her but I certainly needed the support.

    THE RESOLUTION

    Eventually my wife talked to probably the only person in her entire extended family that would understand. She has an older cousin whose husband went through a simliar transition about 20 years ago, and she had studied a lot of church history over the years as a result. When she talked to this cousin, she was reassured that all would be well and that she completely understood why I reached out to people who had been through the same thing. She said she had no one to talk to 20 years ago and neither did her husband, and it has only been in recent years that either of them have found anyone they could talk openly to about their concerns. After this conversation, things were better for about a year. My wife was open to talking about the issues, especially as the topical essays were published, and her faith shifted to a much more healthy place for both of us that allowed me to be supportive of her and her of me (to some extent). It sure looked like things would work out just fine.

    THE REGRESSION

    Then the issue of temple recommends came up as renewal time approached. I told her I wasn’t sure if I would be issued a recommend, and then all hell broke loose again. She accused me of ruining our eternal family and was certain I would lead our children away from the church. She was certain that I would mock her beliefs and not respect her. I told her that was absolutely not the case and she was making broad, unfounded, and unfair assumptions. She threatened divorce yet again and once again told me she wasn’t sure if she loved me. I asked her as nicely as I could if she could explain to me what exactly I had done wrong. I couldn’t pretend my doubts weren’t there and I couldn’t change the past and its implications. I couldn’t change her identity that was based on a very correlated and whitewashed narrative. The only thing she could come up with after literally days of thinking about it was, “You knew what studying church history has done to other people. The thing you did wrong was to keep studying knowing what could happen.” I told her that the outcome of studying church history is extremely varied and I had no idea what it would lead to. I was hoping I would emerge on the other end like Richard Bushman, but we had both heard Richard Bushman’s “testimony” in a fireside he gave recently, and I pointed out how it was hardly a testimony of the literalness of the church’s truth claims. He chooses to be a Mormon because he thinks it makes him a better person. I have a problem with a lot of the things the church has made me and others in to.

    CONCLUSION

    Through all of this, I have *always* been the one to compromise and smooth things over. And if it weren’t for my wife’s cousin, we might not be married today. I still don’t know how things will go over the next few years. I still don’t know if my wife loves me unconditionally. I still don’t know if I am going to be manipulated by someone who used to be so sweet and nice to me. I myself wonder some days if it’s worth it. If it weren’t for the children, we almost certainly would be divorced.

    I absolutely 100% blame the institutional church for not making more effort to correct this problem as I have seen many others go through the same thing with little help and sometimes just the opposite from church leaders at literally all levels. I am *sick* of hearing, “Oh that’s just some people – that’s not the church.” The people ARE the church!!! At what point do you say, “Hey, maybe we should make a bigger effort to teach unconditional love and welcome everyone. Maybe we should stop saying that apostates spread disease germs and to not associate with people who actively disagree with us. Maybe we should stop pointing out how people who go through faith crises get angry and depressed when just maybe it is *us* contributing to that anger and depression. Maybe we should stop being judgemental of people who criticize the church and its leaders for egregious errors they have made and REPENT, just like we teach.” I’m tired of being blamed for doing something wrong, when the only thing anyone has been able to come up with was, “You studied too much church history.” Everyone knows I tried faith for years and it didn’t answer any questions, but a year of studying church history answered more questions than I could have imagined. I have no idea what the next few decades will bring, but unless top church leaders change their rhetoric my marriage may not survive and my children will be the true victims.

    MORMON STORIES

    Without Mormon Stories and the efforts of John Dehlin, I’m not sure if I’d still be married today. My wife has listened to some of his work and has participated in the Mormon Stories Podcast Community, all of which has opened her mind to more love and inclusion. There are still a lot of kinks we need to work out, but without Mormon Stories it would have been much more difficult to find common ground. Thank you John for speaking out so that we know we’re not alone. Thank you John for not shying away when threatened with discipline. Thank you John for having the moral integrity and humility to do what is right and let the consequence follow. I am greatly indebted to you.

  67. S
    January 20, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I wouldn’t say that my loss of faith was “the” reason for my divorce but it certainly contributed. We were the classic mormon marriage story; married too young and too quickly. We both worked so hard to make it work for eleven years. But in the end I realized we would never be happy together. My problems with the church were never open for discussion and I was repeated told that if I left the church our marriage would be over. It was heartbreaking to know that I would always come second (or worse) to a church that abuses her time, money and mental health. It’s still hard for me to see her struggle to live up to impossible expectations and give so much to a church that lies to her.

    We’ve been divorced for over three years now and I’ve never been happier out of the church. I hope someday she will leave as well, for her sake and for our children. I’m optimistic with the church “doubling-down” on homophobia and misogyny that some day she will wake up to it all. But maybe I’m being naive.

    I feel for everyone here who has gone through similar experiences and worse. I have so much respect and love for you all!

  68. Prairie Chuck
    January 20, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    My husband left the church about 26 years ago. Obviously this was before the Internet age. He never read a single “anti” book. In the two years that led him out of the church he read–I would say devoured–the scriptures, every Ensign article, every church book. He was a return missionary, serving an extra six months on his mission. Our courtship was picture-perfect by LDS standards–not a lot of physical contact, dates at the temple and firesides, praying and fasting before getting engaged, then married in the temple. There was no sin. (Even as a non-LDS, he is more straight laced than many Mormons.) His reasons for leaving were 100% doctrinal. He was unable to resolve all the internal inconsistencies within church doctrine. And because if my post-manifesto genealogy he knew the church was lying about polygamy.

    In the first 10 yrs after he left the church, I tried desperately to hold on, but church leaders were dismissive or critical of him: clearly he was in the grips of Satan (or in the grips of pride or intellectualism or sin, take your pick), why would I ever want to stay married to someone like that? I had church leaders tell me he was going to lead our children to hell, he was destroying our eternal family, etc. I was told he had broken our covenants so there really was no more marriage, why stay?

    Whenever I faced problems or challenges I was told it was my husband’s fault because he left the church and the Spirit was no longer in our home. Whenever I asked for counsel or support or expressed my own doubts, the response was “What did you expect? You’re the one who’s stayed married to the guy.” When I asked for a home teacher, the EQP told me “Well, you haven’t done much to get him back to the church. Clearly he’s not coming back to the church anytime soon. Only about 25% of our EQ are doing their home teaching and we really can’t waste a good home teacher on him.” (His exact words. Truly. I’m not making this up.)

    Not only was I not going to get any help or support for myself and my children, many in ward and stake leadership actively undermined our marriage. I’m not talking about a one-off, isolated or rare experience. This happened repeatedly in 3 wards and 2 different stakes, amongst 8 bishops and 5 different Stake Presidents. The negative experiences have waned in recent years (it’s been 5 yrs since a truly nasty experience, but there is still a subtle, not-so-obvious undercurrent of disdain.) but the trauma of those experiences continues.

    I was at a particularly low time in my marriage–my husband was consumed with depression and our children were entering their turbulent teens (one was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder)–when I felt I could no longer hold on. Either my marriage or my faith was going to have to give. Maybe both. It was at that time that I began following John Dehlin, first as he posted on NOM, then as he started Mormon Stories. John and MS gave me a fresh perspective, a new vision of what my faith and spirituality might be. I finally began to make some sense of what was happening to my faith and to our family and was able to find something solid I could hold on to. We still have our rocky times (mental illness has taken its toll on our family) but the progress we’ve made in the last 10-12 yrs has been steadily forward, towards more happiness and security in our relationship and more faith and spirituality for me. I am still a Mormon and we are still married because of John and MS.

  69. Sam
    January 20, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    The church has nearly destroyed my marriage, several times over. I decided to leave the church shortly after my mission. But then I met my wife at about the same time. We had a stereotypical lds courtship and were engaged soon after we met. I did not want a temple marriage, but she insisted she would not get married outside the temple. I conceded and even tried to continue going to church after we were married.

    The longer I stayed in the church, however, the more miserable my life became. After a year or so, I wanted nothing to do with the church. For the next one to two years, my married life was one conflict after another. Every Sunday was a battle, with my wife begging me to keep going to church, and me begging to not be forced to go. Finally, after about two years, my wife and I decided we could not continue with how things had been going. At that time, we came to an uneasy compromise in which she would accept my not going to church, and I would not interfere with her church practices.

    The tensions in our marriage eased, to some degree, but only for a short time. As I moved further from the church, she moved closer to it. She took on several callings, attended every meeting, went to the temple every week, did family prayer and scripture study. Soon, she was spending far more time with her church activities than with me. I was forced to live the mormon lifestyle in every way other than actually going to church and paying my own tithing.

    I lived in complete agony, knowing that no matter how successful I was in my life, she would always be ashamed by me and I could never be “the man of her dreams” because I left the church.

    It was extremely difficult for me to continue living the church’s lifestyle when I no longer believed in the church, but I did it to keep my wife. We have had to go through months of counseling, and come to several agreements about what we will or won’t do, and how our kids will be raised. I had thought we were doing fairly well, until I recently found out she has been doing things like forcing our kids to go to church, and secretly doing church activities while I’m at work, which we specifically agreed she would not do behind my back.

    Things are still uncertain. The sad thing is, church aside, we are really good for each other. But she has always chosen her church over our marriage, and it appears that will never change.

  70. anonymous
    January 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    My husband went through his faith crisis first. He never really was very active in the church,but he never had hard feelings towards it either. He’d rather be out hunting or resting. He never really fit in and just prefered his outdoors church. What seemed like out of the blue, he started to be really angry and hateful towards church, people in our ward, and me for continuing to take our kids (especially our daughter) to “that place” I didn’t understand and I took it as an attack on me as a Mom. Then he started to challenge, what seemed to me, all our Christian beliefs. Of all the things I’ve had to put up with on our marriage, I was not going to put up with not feeling comfortable to have Christian beliefs inn my own home, and feeling safe enough to teach those beliefs to my kids. He seemed so evil to me. I started thinking about divorcing him. This tore me apart for a good 6 months. I just didn’t understand what was going on. My husband stop talking to me about his feelings. I could tell he was just dying inside and I felt helpless.
    I actually talked to my parents about what they thought I should do, and they recommended marriage counseling. I made an appointment to meet with my bishop to set up counseling. That night, I was looking on Facebook and saw the story of Kate Kelly being excommunicated. I was horrified. I didn’t support her group ( at the time) but the idea that a women wanting equality would threaten her membership was too much for me. I feared for my husband who was expressing anti mormon views. I feared for myself because I have very Feminist views and had expressed them openly. I thought that in this daynand age women are still being condemned for wanting equality?!? In the comments of the story about Kate Kelly, there were comments referring to the CES letter. I didn’t know a thing about it but have always been curious as to why people don’t think Mormons are Christians. Something in the comment sparked my curiosity and I Googled CES letters. I read the entire thing and threw up. I had heard a lot of things the letter brought up but never had I seen references, comparisons, and such detail. The Book of Mormon part did me in. I cried all that night. I didn’t sleep for almost a month. I searched out everything in the letter. I read every response to the letter, every comment, every apologetic response. I read scriptures through a critical eye instead of a believing eye. I became angry and hateful towards people, without cause. I stopped believing in any belief a religon could have, including God. I ached and longed for a peaceful feeling. I no longer could be a part of something I had been apart of for my 36 years of life. If it was wrong then why was I hurting so bad leaving it? That was a scary feeling for me. What would my family say? How will my kids be treated? ( I grew up in Utah so I know how non members are treated, and that’s better than someone who has left) Where will we go now? Finally, I shared what I found with my husband. Then he finally opened up and a flood of everything came out. I finally understood what he was going through. TOGETHER we decided that we could no longer be a part of a lie. We haven’t been back since. This was almost a year ago. Since then, we have worked hard to rebuild a testimony in The Lord. We have worked hard to rebuild a testimony of Grace and salvation. None of which are Mormon beliefs. It’s like we had to start over again and relearn the gospel according to the Bible, not Joseph Smiths version. At this point, I finally was starting to feel that peace I was seeking. I stopped taking my anti anxiety medication. I stopped feeling depressed all the time ( I still do occasionally which I’ve realized is when I have been harassed by the YW leaders, ward members or mistreated by my family for my choices). We have come a long way in the past year. I still haven’t been released from my calling in Cub Scouts, mostly because people keep saying no to the calling. Hehe. My husband was released. I was asked by my bishop why we haven’t been coming (it only took them a year to realize…we’re the invisible ward members, always have been). Without causing trouble, I just said this isn’t the place for us. He interrogated me for a few minutes ( the longest conversation I ever had with him) and he seemed convinced we weren’t coming back. I didn’t have our membership removed. I’m not ready for that step yet. But, I think that for now, we will be left be (crossing my fingers). Most importantly, my husband and I didn’t give up on each other! We actually needed each other more now than ever. I’m thankful I never listened to my previous bishop who would insinuate that I would he much happier with a “faithful” husband. I have a faithful husband! Faithful to me, faithful to our family, faithful to God, and faithful to his own conscience. We’re closer now then we were ever before. I see the good in him now instead of all of his flaws (which were only based on my religous views). We still have a long way to go in recovering from Mormonism and it’s abuse of us ( That’s a longer story and one I hope to feel safe sharing one day). We’re still trying to have a base to stand on and solid beliefs. But we’re more understanding of others and more patient then we ever use to be. You (John Dehlin) going under scrutany and threat of excommunication has rocked our boat again. For me, it’s resurfacing feelings I felt when Kate Kelly was exed and the discovery I made. This time however, it also comes with a larger, louder voice of memebers judgeing those that have left. Our story is new. Not many people know our decision. Hearing the hateful comments has hurt us and even though we don’t know you, we hurt for what is being said to you. We fear what will be said to us. Its already started with the YW leaders ( whom I thought were my friends) criticizing me as a Mom. We can handle it. We have strong personalities that people usually back down to. But it still will hurt. And we’ll probably resort back to feeling angry. Their is a whole lot more to our life story and our Mormon roots, but this is already really long, sorry! Thanks for offering a safe place to tell my story. Thanks for your podcasts, one of which was a source for me not giving up on my husband. I hope you are able to find some peace in all of this turmoil. You really have made a difference. Please don’t give it up!

  71. Paul
    January 20, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Eight years ago I finally decided to explore the lingering doubts that had built up during my life of 44 years. As happens to so many that go down this road, I quickly became a disaffected Mormon due to the many issues for which the official Mormon Church fails to provide an acceptable explantion. When I told my wife of my disbelief she responded that her belief in the Church was more important than her marriage and that she hadn’t married me for who I was, but for whom I might become.

    We tried counseling (both LDS and non-LDS) to no avail. At that point I was faced with the decision of leaving the marriage or sticking it out until the children were raised. I chose the latter, and so I’ve lived with a loveless marriage the last eight years. During that time I found LDS-based resources for healing such marriages non-existent. My wife was provided with little or no encouragement from the LDS Church to work toward resolution. We are now separted and pursuing divorce.

    While John Dehlin’s resources played no direct part in our marriage experience, I can say that mormonstories.org occupies more than any other resource I know of, the middle ground between believers and non-believers. I have members of my extended family in both camps that have listened to these podcasts. Resources like mormonstories.org, which do not preach but rather simply gather others’ experience, are scare. I encourage LDS authorities not to administer church discipline to Mr. Dehlin. His primary mission has not been about divisiveness but rather healing and community. Excommunicating him will not make the problems that were the catalyst for his website to go away. Rather it would serve to perpetuate these issues.

  72. Tabatha Allred
    January 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I remember listening to general conference when it was announced that sister missionaries were now allowed to leave at a younger age. I remember feeling hopeful for my kids, especially my daughter, that the church was finally breaking free from oppression that many women in the church have felt for so long. I was driving with my family discussing this big news. I turned to my devout LDS spouse, and with excitement, I told him I was hopeful that one day there might even be a female mission president. With mocking hostility I remember him saying “Tabatha, Jesus had men for his apostles….men not women….for a reason…the Priesthood.” My heart sank. He then left with my two sons to attend the annual boys night out dinner celebration for Priesthood holders in our family. It was my daughter’s birthday. She and I went to a movie…just two girls with no Priesthood abilities, celebrating her birthday. This was just one of many defining moments for me that made me realize that the changes occurring in my heart and in my testimony would never fully be understood by my husband. I’ve read emails from his father calling me a “broken compass” and offering my husband Patriarchal advise on our marriage, and on my personal faith crisis that he had no business even knowing about. Despite my not changing a thing about my modest appearance, or my in-tact relationshiop with my three kids as a loving mother; my “telling” and “sharing” of a different testimony of women’s divine potential, was all i needed to do to start my own witch trial. Patriarchy runs thick, and anyone woman with “too much education” or “rebellion against male authority” may as well brand themselves with a scarlet letter. Sadly, there were a few moments a couple of years ago where I thought my spouse understood parts of me; he even drove me to an Ordain Women activity; but now, despite years of marriage counseling, his respect for me as an equal marriage partner has lessened. It sometimes feels like he has something to prove to the outside world that says “ya, my wife may be an apostate, but she won’t win me over boys! Don’t worry! I’m in the fold strong as ever”. Mormon Stories helped me when I felt alone. Both my husband and I are counselors and I have hope that through continued marriage counseling of our own, there is still hope our marriage will some how work. It’s my personal and professional belief that every human soul longs to be understood. When bishops won’t entertain your questions, there’s no resources for interfaith families within the LDS church and the general sentiment of the active LDS population is that you “must be ignorant or misinformed” to have come up with your own beliefs; it’s frankly very, very lonely. Mormon Stories has featured many bright, compassionate, good people who have been given this rare opportunity by John Dehlin, to simply and safely share and be heard. He is providing basic human compassion for people who just to be listened to. My thanks and gratitude to you John Dehlin for being an instrument peace, a Christ like example if you will, for people like me who simply want to understand and be understood. You have support John. Thank you for your courage.

  73. withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    My study of church history, and resulting separation from the church, has had our marriage on the verge of divorce (to varying levels) for nearly 4 years.

    My wife and I had a pretty good marriage. We married fairly young, not long after I returned home from my mission. 4 kids. While I was serving in a bishopric, I ran into the word “polyandry” while simply googling a quote from an early prophet. I had been completely faithful my entire life, done everything that I was asked, constantly studied from “faithful” sources, served anywhere I could, and I had never heard this word. I went to FAIR and FARMS to confirm that polyandry was practiced by Joseph Smith. In the process of trying to find some faithful explanation of polyandry (of which none exist, in my opinion), I ran into the topic of the Book of Abraham on the FAIR site. I was in my mid-30s and had absolutely no idea that there was even a debate surrounding the Book of Abraham. This experience jolted me into the reality that I didn’t know as much about Joseph Smith as I thought that I did. This led to a multi-year study of Joseph Smith – which eventually led to my disaffection with the church.

    I spoke to anyone and everyone that could help me work through these church history issues and somehow retain a faithful belief in Joseph Smith, and therefore the church. It was extremely difficult to even find someone that was remotely aware of the problematic church history issues. Most (all?) in local leadership, that I have spoken to, are unaware and apathetic about the recent church essays. A sitting bishop has asked me, in the last few months, where he would go to find the essays. A different bishop recently asked me who Richard Bushman is. I’ve been told that I have succumbed to “anti-mormon lies,” which is interesting as most of this information has now been confirmed in church essays…… I was told that a meeting with Elder Snow (current church historian) could be arranged. I was excited about this meeting, which never materialized.

    My separation from the church is THE issue in our marriage. It is the constant elephant in the room. It creates a constant division between my wife and me, as well as between me and my kids. I am the same person. I am told I am an excellent, committed father. That I am very loving and supportive. I take care of my family and support them in everything (including their church attendance). But, my family is constantly receiving reminders that they don’t have a “worthy priesthood holder in the home.”

    I’ve been told by many people in ward and stake leadership, as well as our LDS marriage counselor, that this issue (one spouse coming to the conclusion that the church is not what it claims to be) is a massively growing issue. Marriages are destroyed over this issue. Families are broken up. Kids are forced to deal with divorce. Yet, I’ve not heard any definitive statements concerning this issue from the prophet or the apostles that are addressing these family tragedies. SLC leadership is either ignorant that this is a problem, or they have chosen not to address it in any meaningful way.

  74. Jeremy
    January 20, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I was a born in the church and raised in the church. My faith crisis started when in 2012 Marlin Jensen described that the church was having a major issue with people leaving. WHAT? I had never heard any of this in my ward. I served in the Bishopric and had heard nothing of this. Down the rabbit hole I went! Fast forward to now, I no longer believe in the church. It has been two of the hardest years for me, but even harder for my wife. She is still trying to hold on for dear life. We both love each other and are working on it as best as we can. We have our ups and downs, but when it comes down to it, we are more important than the church. It has been very difficult for her. We are taking it slow, but both are committed.
    I believe if the church is going to survive it will have to change. I still think good can be done in the church, because people are good. Not the church itself. Only time will tell.
    John, thank you for standing up for what you believe is right. I know there are a lot out there that feel the same, but are afraid of losing a spouse. That is wrong and needs to change.

  75. Tabatha Allred
    January 20, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I remember listening to general conference when it was announced that sister missionaries were now allowed to leave at a younger age. I remember feeling hopeful for my kids, especially my daughter, that the church was finally breaking free from oppression that many women in the church have felt for so long. I was driving with my family discussing this big news. I turned to my devout LDS spouse, and with excitement, I told him I was hopeful that one day there might even be a female mission president. With mocking hostility I remember him saying “Tabatha, Jesus had men for his apostles….men not women….for a reason…the Priesthood.” My heart sank. He then left with my two sons to attend the annual boys night out dinner celebration for Priesthood holders in our family. It was my daughter’s birthday. She and I went to a movie…just two girls with no Priesthood abilities, celebrating her birthday. This was just one of many defining moments for me that made me realize that the changes occurring in my heart and in my testimony would never fully be understood by my husband; even if he wanted to, he might not really be capable. I’ve read emails from his father calling me a “broken compass”; offering my husband Patriarchal advise on our marriage, and on my personal faith crisis that he had no business even knowing about. Despite my not changing a thing about my modest appearance, or maintaining a close, loving relationship with my three kids; my “telling” and “sharing” of a different testimony of women’s divine potential, was all I needed to do to start my own witch trial. Patriarchy runs thick, and anyone woman with “too much education” or “rebellion against male authority” may as well brand themselves with a scarlet letter. Sadly, there were a few moments a couple of years ago where I thought my spouse understood parts of my testimony; he seemed supportive, even driving me to an Ordain Women activity; but now, despite years of marriage counseling, his respect for me as an equal, decision-making marriage partner has seemed to lessen. It sometimes feels like he has something to prove to the outside world that says “ya, my wife may be an apostate, but she won’t win me over boys! Don’t worry! I’m in the fold strong as ever”.
    Mormon Stories helped me through some of my darkest hours when I felt most alone. Both my husband and I are counselors. It’s my personal and professional belief that every human soul longs to be understood. When bishops won’t entertain your questions and there no resources for interfaith families within the LDS church, and the general sentiment of the active LDS population is that you “must be ignorant or misinformed” to have come up with your own beliefs; it’s frankly very, very lonely. Mormon Stories has featured many bright, compassionate, good people who have been given this rare opportunity by John Dehlin, to simply and safely share and be heard. He is providing basic human compassion for people who need to be heard. My thanks and gratitude to you John Dehlin for being an instrument of peace and a Christ-like example for people like me who simply want to understand more about others and be understood myself. You have support John. Thank you for your courage to continue doing what’s right, no matter how challenging it may feel.

  76. Jonathan
    January 20, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    My story is pretty typical. About eight years ago, for various reasons I discovered that I could no longer believe in the fundamental claims of the LDS church no matter how much time I spent reading the scriptures and praying. That only made things worse. My conscience demanded that I distance myself from Mormonism for the sake of my children.

    I resigned from my church positions and, after a few months, stopped attending church. This caused the largest rift in our marriage that we have experienced so far. She felt betrayed and had to grieve for her lost dreams of an eternity together. She brought up divorce many times in the next few years.

    She realized that other than my religious views, I was a good husband and father. Her only reason for wanting to leave was because of her faith in Mormonism. I had no desire to leave. We are such a great team. We make a great couple, and I resent to this day how Mormonism got in the way of an otherwise wonderful relationship.

    We slowly learned to rebuild our relationship on a more firm foundation than shared religious ideas. Things are better now, but our different views about Mormonism still lurks in the background, threatening to undo what we’ve built together. My experience belies the slogan “Family First”.

  77. Nick Boyer
    January 20, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I had always had an inner conflict. From a diagnosis of bi-polar, depression, anxiety, and ADHD, I could see how I could be attracted to the structure and bold morality in the LDS Church. In my mission, I would feel so tormented by thoughts of evolution. Going to the temple would throw me into a near panic attack. Cognitive dissonance. I loved the church. I would feel good about it. I would preach from the heart to investigators. But, I’d also cry praying in the bathroom for some comfort and resolution to my doubts. It never came.
    After the mission, I became interested in more intellectual teachings from LDS folks like Hugh Nibley and FAIR. I’d become entrenched in a much more in depth view of Mormonism. It helped me with my doubts.
    I was married in the temple a short time after that. My wife and I had a great spiritual connection. We were both very liberal in our views of God. I had great insights to the symbolism and ideas in the ordinances and doctrine. I disregarded the silly things Brigham Young would say or ignore the things like a withholding of blessings to black people.
    But, those things seem to never leave my shelf of doubt. I’d deal with one doubt and move on. Then another. Then another, till there were too many to deal with and the dam broke. I stopped reading my scriptures and praying because reading the scriptures made me have those anxiety filled doubts and cognitive dissonance. How could they know about Jesus in ancient america in such detail? How could God ignore talking about dinosaurs? Why would there be so much quoting from the New Testament in the Book of Mormon? On and on.
    My wife noticed my growing disaffection. I started listening to podcasts. It was tricky. I liked Mormon Stories for the faith edifying views. Then I knew I was being a “cafeteria” truth seeker. I started dipping my toes in other views. I was feeling more validated by my own cognitive dissonance struggles. I finally snapped and realized I don’t believe it.
    So, then I had to figure out with telling my wife. I did. She is upset to this day. There is a constant struggle of identity as a couple. She feels like I betrayed her and that I’m anti-Mormon, whatever that even means. She and I will argue but it’s ebbs and flows. I don’t like things and I stand up for the anti-science and anti-LGBT teachings. She is very liberal and does agree but I really think she isn’t coming to terms with the actual doctrines. I feel better about my doubts. I have much less anxiety. But, I still have to deal with this tension and contentious situation.

  78. Tucson Guy
    January 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve followed this podcast for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve commented. Many of the podcasts and comments have helped me not feel so crazy as I’ve slowly transitioned out of the Mormon church. My path out of the church started about 7 years ago as I tried to reconcile the beautiful doctrine of unconditional love with the shaming and guilting so prevalent throughout much of Mormon culture and teaching. I continually felt unworthy an inadequate, and as time went on, my Mormon rituals of having scripture study, prayer, and service did less and less to provide relief and peace. So I concluded that something was wrong with present-day Mormonism while still holding a strong belief in it’s founding principles and truth claims. I decided to study Mormon history in earnest with a hope of finding where it went wrong along the way, and down the rabbit hole I went. I felt stunned, betrayed, and angry at discovery patterns of leadership deceit and deception that began with Joseph Smith and continue to this day. After wrestling with my faith for years, I finally concluded that I could no longer be part of an organization that lacks historical and emotional integrity, has a history of human-rights abuse, and that so often relies on guilt and shame to motivate. I finally resigned in the wake of the excommunication of Kate Kelly and others who have been punished for their willingness to challenge the brokenness within Mormonism.

    Loss of my faith was incredibly difficult for me personally, but the most difficult part of my transition has been, and continues to be, my relationship with my wife. Initially she was (understandably) terrified and angry at me for challenging the church and compromising our eternal family. Navigating baptism of our children, church attendance, prayer, family night, and a host of other things has been tough. We still love each other and have made it work, but that’s no thanks to the teachings of the leaders (I guess my wife is not supposed to talk to me about Mormonism because that would be like talking to the guy who betrayed Jesus to murderers. yikes!). To her credit, my wife has become more respecting and accepting of my new beliefs, but it is still a continual challenge. We have agreed to a compromise where the kids are forced to go to church every other week, but that’s still hard for me. I’d rather not have my kids be subject to the emotional manipulation of the LDS church or to be taught that their dad is a sinner unworthy of heaven. I guess it’s also just tough because I feel like I’m surrounded by continual Mormon triggers that salt the wounds I’m still nursing.

    Counseling has helped somewhat, as has focusing on mindfulness and acceptance of myself, and I really appreciate Mormon stories and other similar blogs for helping me not feel so crazy and alone at times. Also, a huge thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences here.

  79. Withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I resigned from the church about two years ago. After enduring years of sexual and emotional abuse from church leaders and “worthy” priesthood holders, I made the decision that I needed to leave the church for my own mental and emotional health. My husband understood my decision, but was terribly hurt at the thought that we would no longer be an eternal family. There was a lot of tension for the first year after I resigned.

    I began processing so many feeling that had been suppressed for years. My hatred for the church and for what they had done to me exploded. My husband felt caught in the middle. He felt like he needed to defend the church and the truthfulness of the gospel as I shot holes in it left and right. My husband threatened me with divorce if I couldn’t stop demeaning the organization that he cherished. I felt so alone during this time.

    I wanted to start attending another church to reestablish a community where I could gain support. My husband was furious with me for wanting to do this. He felt it was better for me to have no religious affiliation than worship with another Christian denomination. So, I gave up on that idea. As the months passed, I felt more and more alone and isolated. I fell into a very deep depression that culminated in a suicide attempt.

    I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful non-LDS therapist that is helping me process the years of abuse by the LDS church and helping my husband understand that the church doesn’t need him to defend it.

    I feel that the LDS church forces people like my husband to choose between family or church. The church’s current views on their self importance and self preservation hurts individuals, families, communities, and society.

    JOHN- Thank you for your podcasts. I have found a lot of support and help through the Mormon Mental Health series.

  80. ADoyle
    January 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I was basically a hormonal convert because I thought my ex-husband would leave me if I didn’t join the LDS church. No matter what I did, I could never fit in with the culture of the church, as it really is a subculture in US society. My first mistake was showing up in slacks and a nice blouse when I went for my first Sunday experience. As I had no LDS family history, I was that clueless about the strict dress code as to me, slacks and a nice blouse was church clothing.

    Another mistake I made was to drink iced tea at a banquet because it was offered along with water, as I had thought that only hot tea was violating the Word of Wisdom. Then, when I was baptized, my mom who had no idea about the rule against cross jewelry, gave me a plain gold cross necklace as a baptism gift, since that’s what she thought would be a good gift. That really offended my ex because he said it would be like wearing a gun if someone was shot.

    Other ways I didn’t fit in were that I asked too many questions, and I supported gay marriage and admitted that I voted “No” on Prop 8’s predecessor. I also complained when watching a baby blessing because I thought the mother should have been allowed to hold her child. The most offensive thing I did according to my ex-husband was to say that the historical Jesus didn’t look European as he’s depicted in church art.

    I went to church because I had to, not because I wanted to, and I’m just lucky that he never threw out my birth control pills which is something he easily could have done. Religion was one of the main reasons I divorced him, and I had to get a restraining order when I told him I was filing because he scared me with his reaction as I wasn’t honoring the priesthood and that as a woman, I had “no right” to file for divorce. Now, not all LDS men are abusive to their wives, but my ex unfortunately was one of those who was. I resigned shortly before the divorce was final to show my ex that he no longer had any control over me. I do know that there’s no way I would have remained in the church anyway because I support the ideas behind the Ordain Women movement, and I also support gay marriage.

  81. Dan
    January 20, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I have not really told this story but I think it is time. My story could have ended like many above but thankfully did not. About 5-6 years ago I began to have serious doubts about the church and some of it’s teachings. I knew that saying anything would likely be the end of my church participation and likely my marriage. I had seen this many times before and always thought negatively of the person who ’caused’ so much discord in their home.

    I think often the doubter may too be culpable for some of the demise of the marriage because they do not know any different. After all there is no in-between road. Only full fellowship with strict adherence to all church teachings OR you are an apostate anti and are worthy of no blessings including your current family.

    I lamented the idea of me not being with my wife and kids. What was I to do? If the church taught me anything it was the high value of integrity. Could/should I lie on my recommend interview? Should I tell my priesthood leaders my thoughts? Should I tell my wife? What would her reaction be? These were issues that I deeply struggled with. About four years ago someone told me about mormon stories. I learned that many others where also at one point silently suffering. I was not alone! Maybe I was not crazy. There are other people who are just like me. These are not people who are enemies of the church. These people have some issue but also understand and recognize the great benefit the church brings to one’s family.

    I mustered the courage to tell my wife I did not believe everything as the church currently teaches. Had I not learned of mormon stories I suppose the next step would have been to figure out how to paint me out of the equation. After all according to the culture I was raised in I clearly did not fit anymore. But I knew now that did not have to be. I expressed my deep love for my wife and told her how much I appreciated and needed her. I told her I did not intend to leave the church voluntarily. I told her I would support her church activities and views 100%. I just ask that she respect where I was right now in my journey. Guess what? That was enough! I am still happily married to the most wonderful women! I have a wonderful fulfilling relationship. I can still give my kids or family member a blessing if requested. I am still in the church although I have not been given any callings in recent years, even my home teaching assignment is now withheld. I suppose when one of my children gets married in the temple I will wait outside. But I am OK with it knowing I was true to what I believed. Maybe thats the test?

    Mormon Stories has allowed me to not be one of the victims like many of the tragic stories I read above. I hope that regardless of what happens to the founder of this site, that it can continue to help more people. It has surely helped me.

  82. Deserae
    January 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I got married pretty quickly and to an ex KKK member. I was sitting in the celestial room one day and felt like I was told to marry him even though I sat there and argued and said I didn’t want to. He was new to the church and I thought that any man who chooses to be Mormon at the age of 32 must have had some miraculous change of heart.

    My family wasn’t happy about this and my brother in law even refused to come to the wedding. But we got married in a small ceremony and our single’s ward bishop and his wife even flew from Chicago to Denver to marry us.

    It was not good even before we married. I’m super liberal and feminist and always have been and he is…well not. He thought that Mormonism taught that the man was to have dominion over the wife and always used that against me and told me I wasn’t a good Mormon woman and this was my religion so why didnt’ I follow it? I couldn’t give him good doctrinely based reasons as to why his racism was wrong because he always brought up old conference talks and blacks not having the priesthood for so long.

    During this time we moved to Central Illinois where I didn’t know anyone and I worked at an office where I listened to podcasts all day. That’s how I discovered Mormon Stories. Listening to Mormon Stories was the only good church thing I had at the time. I didn’t like my ward and my husband was gone all the time and when he was there we just fought. My bishop wasn’t really helpful and I always felt so stupid trying to explain the situation at home.

    Finally, as expected, the fighting turned physical and I called the cops. My sister and her husband (the same one who didn’t attend my wedding) bought me a plane ticket home. I called my bishop and EQ president to get help moving all my stuff out and into storage. I was on a tight deadline and it took the bishop 36 hours to get back to me. By this point I was supposed to be in Chicago, 3 hours away, in less than 12 hours. He told me he would not allow the members of the ward to help me move for fear of liability to the church. I was stunned. I actually hung up on him.

    Luckily, a family I knew in the other ward in town told me that they would come help me. And they did. But all I could think was “Is this a church or is this a corporation?”

    Needless to say, we didn’t stay married. But it wasn’t until I really started questioning gender roles in the church did I start to understand that it wasn’t my fault and that my personal beliefs on marriage and gender roles and religion were not wrong. They were simply mine and that’s all that mattered.

    I’ve since left the church and I’m incredibly happy. And maybe my faith crisis technically happened after my marriage ended, but I think our two VERY different views of marriage and God and life in general led me to seriously question all that I thought I once knew.

  83. Josh
    January 20, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Days after approaching my wife about my dwindling belief, she told me that we were in a probationary period while she consulted the bishop and priesthood holders in her family to see if we should divorce. It was months later that we finally moved beyond that shaky ground and renewed our vows.

    She is still fully active and believing, and our biggest marital problems usually involve conflict about the church. I can be too vocal about my criticism. She has made little effort to understand my perspective. We can frustrate each other.

    • Josh
      January 20, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      I forgot to mention that we first looked to Mormon Stories for podcasts featuring couples in mixed-faith experiences. My wife didn’t find them to be as helpful as looking for friends/coworkers who went through the same thing.

  84. robbie
    January 20, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    My mom converted a few years after my parents got married. My dad never joined but mom was a TBM. I’ll probably never know how big a factor the religion was concerning the divorce but I’m sure it didn’t help that his kids were coming home every Sunday pressuring him to ‘join’ our family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually somewhat glad they divorced because they’re both much happier now. Dad has had some good relationships and mom married a great guy she met on mormonsingles.com. She seems to have gotten what she was looking for but I can’t help but wonder if she was looking for THAT specific relationship just because she thought it was the only one that ‘counted’. Mormonism may not have been the cause of their split but I felt like I had been weaponized against my father by the church and I’m sure that contributed to it.

  85. Withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    My temple marriage lasted two years. I went through my faith crisis alone because of the pressure I felt to be a righteous daughter of god. I was worried that if anyone knew I was having doubts, they wouldn’t understand and would judge harshly. I eventually came to the conclusion that the mormon church was not true.

    After telling him my conclusion, my then-husband remained very active while I stopped attending. I felt that we had absolutely nothing in common after that. I think the only reason we got married in the first place was to fulfill our mormon duties here on earth. After I stopped believing, I almost felt happy that I had the option to get a divorce without worrying about my “eternal salvation”. As much as I hate to say this, it was quite a relief. My decision about the church was not made because of an unhappy marriage (I didn’t know how unhappy I was then) rather, after coming to the conclusion, I was able to see how unhappy I was in my marriage and in the religion.

    The way I see it, religious beliefs shouldn’t define someone. If the only reason you are pursuing a relationship is similar religious views, that relationship just won’t have much to stand on. I hate the idea that, “as you get closer to god you get closer to your spouse”. You know, that whole triangle thing. To me, it puts a wedge between you and your spouse where nothing should come between. There should be no one that comes between the two.

  86. Monica Malmgren
    January 20, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I am very happy to share my story because of the huge impact that Mormon stories had on the outcome. About eight years ago I lost my faith in the church. My husband,because of the distress it caused to him, was not able to accept my loss of faith. Divorce seemed imminent. It was when I made a connection with Mormon stories and my husband was willing to listen to John’s interviews that things began to get better. He needed an outside person to tell him the things I had been trying to tell him. He was too defensive to listen to me, but he could listen to John. His heart softened and he could see why my actions were justified. It allowed him to understand how the information I had found had changed my views. I think we’ve made it through the worst part. And now our marriage is thriving again.

  87. Rick
    January 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    My story will be brief (for a change…) because it was so simple. RM, temple married soon after returning, early children, much college and professional training…all while holding time consuming church callings — of course this led to a degree of diverging lives. Add bringing four children into the world and all the energy and time required for good parenting and life became very mechanical.

    But through the whole church prescribed lifestyle also came a degree of wanting more. More excitement, more mental stimulation, more passion…all led to a shelf that collapsed after a dramatic ward event where I was exposed to leadership/gender abuse. The basic truth claims had never really been questioned until then, but once my investigation began, it wasn’t long before I came to disbelieve Mormonism.

    My own parents had divorced and we as children had been pawns in their constant fighting, which had instilled a conviction to make my marriage work at all costs. But when the depression and hopelessness led to substance abuse and its consequences, I learned that for me, nothing was worth not living an authentic life.

    Finally, after years of marriage counseling, when the therapist suggested divorce, it was like the load had been lifted and we were given permission to move on to the lives we had wanted all along.

    Years later, with both of us remarried to compatible spouses, neither of us regret the divorce. Nor do our healthy and successful children who wonder today why we even married in the first place. It’s hard to criticize the journey based on the four beautiful children we brought into the world. We both love each of them and their own children — a mix of about 50% active LDS and 50% non-religious. It certainly was a difficult journey, and much was learned by both of us, but we will never know how life would have been without a Mormon-based marriage in the beginning.

  88. Kevin
    January 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I went through my crisis of faith through 2009 and stopped attending church at the beginning of 2010. This put an enormous amount of stress on our marriage, that almost ended in divorce. Here we were a couple very much in love with each other and we almost terminated our marriage because I just couldn’t believe in the church any more.

    Desperately searching for support, I came across John Dehlin and Mormon Stories. The first episode I listened to was the one with Jacque in episodes 123-125. I still remember listening and just bawling my eyes out. This was a very pivotal point and I consider it one of the lifelines to our marriage. I shared the episode with my wife and it helped us see the possibility of a strong healthy marriage with differing views on faith and religion.

    5 years later we are very happily married. My wife is still a very faithful member of the church and I still love her like crazy. I still don’t have any belief in the truth claims of the church, and she still loves me like crazy.

    It’s painful the think that we go so close to ending our marriage because of a difference of faith, and I’m so happy I was able to find resources for support to help navigate through the tough times.

    John, you are an incredible force for good in this world. No one can take that away from you.

  89. Name Withheld
    January 20, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I was not raised Mormon, but met a TBM girl, fell in love, converted. We got married, and had two kids.

    Everything was going swimmingly until we were sealed in the temple (we had a civil wedding a year prior to this). Before attending the temple, we heard how wonderful and spiritual the ceremonies would be. Not even. I remember sitting there, thinking, “this has got to be an elaborate prank. WTF is this?”

    My testimony suffered greatly, but I faked it in the hope that I would eventually re-make it. Didn’t happen.

    Five years later I was assigned to give a talk in sacrament meeting. Going on the internet to do a little research, I discovered a lot of church history I was never told about before. And a lot of that history was very troubling.

    That night, I completely lost my faith. Depression followed. This was a personal burden I could not share with my spouse. She had zero doubt and wouldn’t hear about any of mine. My church attendance dwindled, I got visits from ward bishopric, but I could not fake it anymore.

    I left the church, moved out, and we were divorced. It sounds bleak, but it was for the best. We’re both remarried now and both much happier.

  90. Emmeline
    January 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    I am a sixth generation Mormon. I graduated from BYU and got married in the temple to an awesome guy. We have three kids. I never, ever thought my testimony would be shaken. My faith transition began a couple years ago as I learned about some troubling issues related to polygamy that I was unaware of. I pushed my concerns aside, as I had done in the past. The dam broke in April when I learned about the Book of Abraham “translation” issues and read the transcript of the Swedish Rescue fireside that was held with two general authorities in Sweden. I realized issues with the church that I had long considered to be “anti-Mormon” were real and there were a lot of them. I read the actual responses from the church historians to questions from the Swedish saints, and realized they didn’t have answers. I could no longer pretend serious issues didn’t exist. The issues were individually troubling, and collectively, they were extremely problematic. The mental gymnastics I had once done were no longer sufficient. I read Mormon Enigma, American Crucifixion, and Studies of the Book of Mormon by LDS apostle B.H. Roberts. I read the biography of pioneer Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, one of Joseph Smith’s polyandrous wives. I read the church essays on LDS.org and a lot of things from Journal of Discourses. My husband found out about my faith crisis when he read a message I had sent on facebook reaching out to someone else who was struggling. It wasn’t pretty. He was scared. I knew he would need to talk to someone. He went to my dad, his brother, and a couple of his friends. My dad told me, a few weeks later, that my husband was scared. He also told me that I would destroy my family (if I did not believe in the church), as he loudly bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon. My husband has not even hinted at the possibility of divorce but I worry about his depression. He has been understanding, but dealing with immense sadness at times. There doesn’t seem to be a place for a true believing Mormon to find lasting contentment with a non-believing spouse. I still attend sacrament meeting with my family and try to look for the positives. Mormon Stories has helped me connect with some amazing people who have given me hope and inspiration to love other people, just the way they are. John’s podcasts with people like Bushman and Givens have been helpful as I try to find a niche to remain involved in the church to some degree. I don’t want to get divorced. I love my husband, and I definitely don’t want to destroy my family. It’s tough. Really, really tough. I was taught, growing up in the church, to stand for truth and righteousness. I’m trying to do that. John is also doing that with his work with Mormon Stories.

  91. East Coast Anonymous
    January 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I met my wife at BYU. We married in the temple. Over time, the fact that I had never received a testimony was something I accepted and wasn’t changing. I was willing to commit to the practice of mormonism, but needed to tell my wife about my disbelief.

    When I told my wife I didn’t believe she said she wanted to leave me. After a few days she reconsidered. She wasn’t willing to listen to any of the sources that had helped me in my quest for truth, but she did like Mormon Stories. Over time, MS podcast has helped us allow our marriage to thrive. Without Mormon Stories, my wife would have divorced me.

  92. k
    January 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    My story goes the other way around: I separated from my spouse in 2006. I was shocked and horrified at this turn of events. I’d done everything I was supposed to do, ticked off all the boxes, was living all the rules, and still my marriage still fell apart! In light of that upheaval, I reevaluated my relationship to the church and revisited my beliefs in light of all that I knew. **I would not have been able to stay involved in the church if I had not found Mormon Stories and this community.** Mormon Stories provided me models for dealing with life’s tendency to defy easy doctrinal answers and cookie-cutter Ensign cover ideals, and gave me a vocabulary for talking through my doubts and challenges. Thank you for helping me to find my equilibrium.

  93. Tim
    January 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    John,

    My marriage experienced significant turmoil with my disaffection. It’s difficult to think back on those times. We separated several times. Any time the subject of anything religious came up, instantly things stirred up and turmoil ensued.

    I was nervous that her bishop would advise her to divorce me, as other bishops have in the past. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened, but I’ve always felt a certain threat that if I spoke out too much about my doubts that this was a possibility. Related: a mormon acquaintance of mine divorced her husband because he and religion parted ways; in retrospect, and even though she loves her present (also non-LDS) husband, she regrets the divorce in retrospect. Her children turned out atheists, anyways. I think some minds just work in a way that is not very compatible with religious belief.

    I remember one particularly hurtful experience. I’d gone to lunch with a friend of mine, and was working from home that particular day. I’d left my computer open. The night prior, I was reading more about Joseph Smith’s polygamy. I have the kind of mind that is violently curious about everything; I thrive on understanding everything from why does the physical world behave as it does from why do people behave as they do. I saw a polygamous dating website, and thought, “huh – this must be a giant sausage fest. Do women really sign up for this freely? What makes these women tick? I’ve heard women in polygamous relationships undergo tortuous levels of jealousy. What could possibly motivate them to go for this?” So, I understand how bad this may sound in retrospect, but at the time, the social scientist in me pressed forward, boldly. I gave it an email address I use for spam (to demonstrate my innocent intentions in the matter, it was one for which my wife had the password, and knew of it’s existence). It turned out to be a trap, and I started to get some pretty horrific email.

    Anyways, my wife discovered this in my browser history, and, understandably, it aroused suspicion. However, since I had recently split ways with the church, and there is the stereotype that people leave the church because they want to sin, this situation became a massive misunderstanding. By the time I got home from my 1-hour lunch meeting, she’d packed a bunch of her stuff, the kids, and her mom came to pick them all up. She was certain that I’d left the church because of guilt from living an adulterous life, and was pretty sure that my lunch date was a woman who I was recruiting to our family. For her, it all fit together, there was no doubt in her or in her mom that I had completely betrayed her. This in spite of my perfect record of fidelity to her.

    She wouldn’t answer her phone so I could explain. Her mother wouldn’t answer, either. I drove to my mother-in-laws house to find my wife and our children. My mother-in-law looked at me as if I were Satan himself, and would not let me near my own children, saying that she was going to protect them from a monster like me. I’ll leave it to the reader to infer how this hurt. There was no convincing of my innocence in this, and after much torment, telling them over and over that I still had perfect fidelity to Laura and there was absolutely zero physical or emotional affairs happening on my side of the marriage, I finally agreed to return home while my wife took some time to think on it (beginning our first separation). Distressed, I called my parents, and, feeling hurt, some raw feelings of anger I felt for being misled regarding the LDS church came out, and rather than offering support, they lashed out at me instead (which was the absolute last thing I needed at this point). It’s worth mentioning, nearly every “surprising thing” is now in the carefully worded essay series. The only place I could turn was to my mormon-turned-atheist Uncle. He was an ear. He didn’t judge. He heard me. He had no agenda. I needed support, was going through the second-most-painful-moment in my life, and everyone I called family that belonged to the damned church turned their back on me. This was point at which the social scientist in me could empathize fully with those who hated the LDS church.

    Several years later, My wife and I have fully healed. Our relationship is now better than before I left the church. I thank, a great deal, a marriage coach that both of us saw. We’ve become better about communicating. But, that experience was tremendously painful. Anybody who says that people leave the church because they want the easy way out is insane. A great deal of personal heart-ache and social stigma may have been avoided if I remained a cultural mormon, and there exists a great deal of crap to swim through when one is honest about one’s non-belief in the church. However, my inner-turmoil has been greatly reduced, and I feel at peace. No desire to return to the church because of their treatment of those who view the church as it is: run by a group of men no more divinely privileged than any of the rest of us. No, this doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to return.

    John, your podcasts were instrumental in supporting me in my transition. I could turn to you, and hear stories from both sides, which made me feel not alone. In many ways, it helped to reduce my anger and desire to retaliate against the church. So, the church has you to thank for that.

  94. Rans
    January 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Hello, I am currently going through some rough times. I don’t believe in the church since about Sept 2014. My wife is TBM and naturally is not taking it well. While she can see that the things I have learned through my research are upsetting, she does not see how that could change the divine mission of Joseph Smith. I never planned on going through this in my life, I have no-doubt made some really stupid decisions without consulting her first(Tithing). But we are learning together. She recently told me that she will never leave me because of this but that she hopes I don’t mind that she will never stop wishing for me to come back. I told her that I would never leave her for staying mormon, but that I will wish just as much that someday she will leave the church. We both know how the other feels and as long as we communicate we can work through anything. The support of people that have gone through this and that are currently going through it has been very important for me. Mormon Stories has kept me from being too rash and hasty. I could never in a million years have a testimony of the church, but that does not mean my marriage wont last forever.

  95. Drew
    January 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    I went through a crisis of faith while I was in grad school. More and more issues kept piling up, and eventually I had no choice but to accept the fact that the church was not what it claimed to be. Over the course of the next two years, my marriage seemed to be in constant jeopardy. I genuinely didn’t think my marriage would last. Sharing some episodes of Mormon Stories, as well as John’s “5 Myths” presentation, helped my wife understand my concerns. Though she remains a believer, she knows that my concerns are valid and not just some “anti-Mormon lies”. Thank you John for all of your work!

  96. Perry
    January 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    The church has complicated my otherwise wonderful 10 year marriage. I was completely committed to the church and was deeply loyal to it. Concluding that the church isn’t what it claims to be was the last thing I wanted, but after learning about the mountains of hidden and/or distorted church history, I hardly feel there was any “choice” involved in my new conclusion, which was also confirmed by the feeling I would have formerly called “the Spirit.”

    As devastating as my faith crisis was, the worst part has been the church’s overreaching imposition on my marriage. My wife and I love each other very much. But we are not on the same page regarding Mormonism anymore, and this is no small difference of opinion. It spills over into every aspect of our lives. I have tried to be mindful not to push her into learning more about the church, because it’s what she prefers. But we are at odds with each other by design. My conscience won’t allow me to support the church, yet I cannot completely get away from it. My wife wants to be a believing member, but she’s married to someone with disdain for the church. We also have 3 kids. We want the best for them but have a religious disagreement over what is “best.”

    My wife and I want to be with each other. The church always told us Families are Forever™ but it seems like the fine print said *unless someone leaves the church. I’m not aware of any conference talks directing members to continue to love and not judge their disaffected spouse. Rather, we are fed messages that focus on how right and true the church is, promoting our allegiance to church over anything else, including love and loyalty to our spouse.

    When I became aware of the hidden church history, I felt lied to and manipulated. I became angry. The church made a missionary out of me, and now with a different perspective on it, I naturally want to share it. Mormon Stories community gave me an outlet to talk about the things I need to talk about, process things, and let the anger go. Even though I no longer have a high opinion of Mormonism, I don’t feel so compelled to inform my believing Mormon family and friends about things they don’t want to know or trample their beliefs and traditions. It’s wonderful to feel like I’m not alone. John if it weren’t for your massive effort in this uncomfortable territory that the church ignores or writes off, my marriage would likely be in bad shape by now. You have a knack for getting those of us who feel betrayed to cool our jets and be respectful of those who continue to believe, like my wife.

  97. Shell
    January 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Mormon Stories helped ease the distress of my and my Ex’s exit. I did not exit as a direct result of Mormon Stories; rather, I was struggling and exiting already and then Mormon Stories cooincidentaly came along in an easily digestible format. What Mormon Stories does is it makes a good-faith attempt to present additional information to the listener, and then the listener can decide in the comfort of his/her home what all of the information (that the Church and Mormon Stories) means to them. That’s a fair, honest, and transparent method to analyze anything if one does so by responsibly and integrally considering ALL sources of information available and verifies them.

    My marriage was doomed ahead of my exit. Belief in the gospel was the only thing that kept us going all those years (which made day to day living worse many times). There were other, non-religious issues that plagued us, but our temple covenants kept us committed to not leaving. When faith fell apart for both of us two years ago, so did our marriage right away. What’s unique is that we saw eye to eye on our exit, and we supported and strengthened each other through it. It was not really that distressful despite families of long-standing LDS history. That said, the other non-religious issues thwarted us.

    Mormonism and Mormon studies was so fascinating to me during my post grad school, early professional years (2003 – 2013). Now it has sort of become boring to me as other life passions and causes authentically surface.

    I’m still far from finding equalibrium; but it will come soon. I can feel it. Hang in there.

    You can contact me anytime to talk.

  98. Witheld
    January 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    My marriage has gone from pretty impressive to devastated because I chose to investigate Wikipedia’s assertion that the Book of Abraham was not a literal translation. That pandora’s box opened up so many issues and now I feel like I have been religiously manipulated and controlled to foster institutional growth and power. Mormon Stories has helped to bridge the gap in understanding between my spouse and I, but as the church continues to demand a literal viewpoint, it’s grip on reality cannot easily be undone and the divide between doubter and believer grows broader and broader. It has been the most destructive force in my life. I appreciate the support given by John Dehlin and Mormon Stories because it’s honest is inherent in its format. Anyone who listens to the podcasts can tell just how transparent everyone is being because both sides of every argument are interviewed and finally a complete picture of the historical facts is obtainable.

  99. anon please
    January 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    These comments are utterly heart wrenching. ‘Carnage’ sounds dramatic, but I think it’s accurate.

  100. Mike
    January 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    When I allowed myself to look at the church based on common sense, life experiences and knowledge everything changed. Unfortunately this didn’t happen until my mid 40’s. But once I did:

    I could finally admit to myself that:

    -The church didn’t make me happy or many LDS people I knew.

    -The church didn’t have answers to basic questions.

    -The top 15 were not prophets or seers or revelators.

    -Many other plain and simple truths I would not allow myself to admit before but were blatantly obvious.

    But once I was open to the truth, suddenly many troubles became clear. It was incredibly refreshing to see things as they are.

    I could finally admit to myself that the LDS church was not “true” and was not what it said it was. Now how to tell my wife and family? While contemplating how to tell family I came across Mormon Stories and other sites. What a tremendous help to find other people who had already gone through a process similar to mine.

    Mormon Stories easily took years off my mental anguish that comes from admitting to yourself and others you have been deceived for over half your life. Finding such a great source of honest discussion and examples of others who have or are currently charting similar waters has reduced the mental burden so much I can’t even imagine doing it alone without the insight and knowledge that has come from places like Mormon Stories.

    While I will apparently always have problems dealing with family and friends because I left the LDS church, I find great strength in the podcasts and stories that others share. This access to open honest sharing helps me make better choices when dealing with my current LDS family issues and navigating life as a former mormon.

    Mormon Stories has made my journey so much easier. Thanks.

  101. JM
    January 20, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    As a person living with panic and anxiety, being an orthodox Mormon was never easy.

    In 2006, I was a distressed, unhappy, depressed, anxious, “I can’t do enough”, True Blue and unfortunately Judgmental Mormon.

    I always disliked the temple ceremonies and their ritualistic nature. When I was Endowed, the church I knew and loved changed forever in the negative for me. In my search to find solace, I somehow stumbled on the connection of Masonry and the Endowment. After 1 week, my whole entire Mormonistic world view was destroyed, as many historic clues and facts added together to reveal the good, bad and ugly origins of Mormonism. At the age of 33 I had given my available time, money, and talents to Mormonism. I realized that I was now part of an organization that works to sustain its own existence at all costs. The difference of what The Organization claimed and what it truly is sickened me. I was angry, sad and felt betrayed at what it demanded of me in terms of actions, thinking and my very being.

    Marriage is tough. Even today, I am on constantly on the verge of divorce due to religious irreconcilable differences with my spouse. She did not want to have a part member family like she grew up in and I had changed from being TBM. So, after finding the NOM way and Mormonstories, my marriage has been saved for a time. Mormon Stories gave me a unique middle way perspective that I have lived now for 8 years. I have made it work and it has saved the marriage thus far. My dream is to have my whole family leave Mormonism as a happy family, not likely to happen, but I can dream. Thus we see religion driving people apart.

    I am active on NOM forum and it really helps. Please read more about my recent calling as EQP and how it ended up.
    http://forum.newordermormon.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=34735

    I have recently really struggled to find some good with church as things have taken a turn to the worse. With the church threatening John Dehlin, who was my inspiration to stay married and stay in the church, I am wondering if the LDS Organization has any soul left.

    Best Regards,
    JM

  102. StillConfused
    January 20, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    My relationship with the church was never really that TBM. Even as a young child I could see that the Book of Abraham did not line up with the facsimile. I never really believed that the Book of Mormon was factually accurate. I will admit that the way that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and those early leaders treated women is full-on revolting and evil.

    For me, though, it really comes down to the church today and how it treats people and how it trains its members to treat others. That is where the rubber meets the road for me. Since marrying my TBM husband, I have seen him be the recipient of the most horrendous abuse from so called family and friends.. all of whom are temple recommend holdings TBMs. I have seen people use the “spirit” as an excuse to behave in the most repulsive ways. I observe how children treat their parents in that religion. I respect that it works for some people. But I need a religion that is more kind and compassionate, one that emulates what I want my heaven to be like. People say “Don’t judge a religion by the people” But I say the exact opposite. “To understand a religion, look at the members.”

    I explained to my spouse that I needed to go to the “nice people heaven”. He understands. He may not be happy about it… but he knows what I have witnessed over these years and he understands. He even tries to understand my new faith and has joined me on different activities. I even told him that I am sure that he qualifies for the nice people heaven.

    I don’t like to disrespect my husband’s church. So Mormon Stories helps me to have a place to discuss things without having to have that discussion with my spouse. I actually prefer that he not learn a lot of the real problems with his religion because I think it would hurt him even more.

  103. Anon
    January 20, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    My husband, a former bishop and extremely well-educated professional, refuses to read anything about the messy issues. That’s his choice and, thank heaven, he allows me my choices. The issues don’t come up at church, ever. It’s as though the essays don’t exist. I have tried to express how lonely I feel. There is a big No Man’s Land now in our marital landscape.

    Thanks for the podcasts. I can’t say that I’ve agreed with you or your guests all the time, but the material you’ve provided people like me is priceless. Priceless. And I hope the podcasts will stand untouched as a testament to the questing spirit in all its inconsistency and imperfection.

  104. Ryan Wimmer
    January 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I was relatively quiet about my loss of faith until 2007 and 2008. It caused tension between me and my wife who was patient and thought it was just a phase. It became really bad when my mother in-law got wind of it. The mother in-law had built a rift between her and many of her children due to her pushing them to be active in church but never recommended they divorce their spouses. After getting word I had become an atheist, she immediately called my wife at the time and told her that is a deal breaker and she had better divorce me or could not make the highest kingdom of heaven with me. My own mother in-law had stuck by her husband through tough times including the family losing their house to the IRS due to him cheating on taxes, but to her an honest crises of faith was worse than blatant dishonesty and believed divorce was the only option.

  105. Philip
    January 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I asked my wife a little over 2 years ago what she would do if I left the church. She responded that she wouldn’t stay with me. While I felt very torn in what I believed, I turned to friends for help and one friend recommended Mormon stories. At first I didn’t feel like it was for me, but after time, it became my mainstay for open discussion about church issues that were affecting me. There was no outlet in the church for this. Even bishops didn’t help. It was open discussion through Mormon Stories that let me know it was normal to question and investigate beliefs even when the content is hard to hear. Currently, my wife and I still together. I don’t know if it kept us together, but it gave me the strength to resolve my issues, save our marriage, and find healing from the hurt I had felt.

  106. C
    January 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    My story is in my original post (posted earlier today).

    I would just like to point out that most (if not all) of the stories on here indicate that this, a faith crisis/transition, is one of the most difficult things that one will go through in his or her life.

    I, like many others, turned to the Church and Church members first with my concerns. I was met with ambivalence, accusations, contempt, wariness, and a general feeling that they could simply not understand.

    Many people wanted to help, a few had even claimed to “have been there” themselves. But once a discussion started about rationality and a need for evidence, it is clear that their doubts, and their beliefs, do not hinge on rationality and evidence.

    Even though some were eager to help, it was like getting hotel recommendations from someone who has never been to the country you are visiting. They simply parrot back things they have heard from others with no real understanding of your actual situation, because they have not been to where you are and where you are going; so I cannot blame those who tried to help–they simply don’t understand (and that is okay).

    Lucky for us that there are a few people out there who understand. John Dehlin is on of those people. He has been there, and even more importantly, he has studied, in-depth, the environment and knows both sides of the fence (he has been to the country you are visiting and has studied hotels and other destinations there).

    So I guess my question for the Church is: Where should people like myself turn during a faith crisis? To people who have a vested interest in my continued attendance? To people who have never truly been where I am? To people whose answer to my pleas for evidence and rationality is to shut down your critical thinking faculties and go off of feelings?

    We need people like John Dehlin who actually have answers. They may not be the answers we want to hear. But for someone like me who desperately needs rationality and evidence, it is the answer we need to hear.

    Thank you John, for all that you do.

  107. Liz
    January 20, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Mine is a relationship that luckily survived through a faith crisis. But in the midst of it I didn’t think it was going to last. I brought up my doubts/issues to my husband about 3 years ago. His very first response was, “well if you don’t change your mind about Joseph smith then I don’t think we can be together.” I was heartbroken and dumbfounded that having issues with someone who’s been dead 150 years could tear a relationship apart in 3.2 seconds. We had many long and sometimes painful and sometimes wonderful talks about these issues. He did also consent to listen to a few Mormon stories podcasts, but I can’t recall exactly which ones. I remember them opening doors for more discussions between us, though 🙂 It took YEARS for us to work through it, but as of right now, he’s okay with my disaffection. He’s okay that I openly dislike Joseph smith, and now even kind of agrees! Sounds ridiculous, but it’s scary how conditioned some people are to abandon people/relationships when the church is threatened. But hopefully there can be more marriages that can work through it. I testify that it’s possible 😉
    Thanks john for everything you’ve done! Your podcasts have been a lifesaver when I thought my head would explode from frustration. My thoughts are with you in this difficult time in your life!!

    • Sue
      February 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Liz,

      In my case, I tried for years and years to accept the whole thing as the truth, but it never really worked for me. It`s been a lonely journey being the female in the relationship who gets out of the church. My husband is very much a believer and has a hard time accepting that I have different views.

      I feel a lot of guilt as the eternal marriage concept was so important to him and it feels like I took that away.

      Things have gotten better with the years, it`s been about 7 years I opened up about it and quit wearing my garments. However, this subject is still a little sore. I am glad to find other women who have taken the step and admit to their feelings. It seems that any time this happens, it is the men who leave.

      I love my husband a lot and leaving because we have different views was never an option for me. I love him for what he is and the way he believes. I wouldn`t want to change any of that about him. At the same time, I feel that I am not as admired in his eyes, that for a while, religion did come before what we had: our love, our history, our child, our marriage and he did consider not being with me because of my choice.

      Anyways, out of all of these messages, yours was a comforting one to relate to.

      Good luck!

  108. CS
    January 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Let me first give my regards to John and everyone involved with Mormon Stories. I thank you for standing up for integrity and honesty. My story is similar to everyone else on this site. The Mormon church shreds families apart when everyone is not on the same page. Each member who comes to learn of the real history and nature of this organization comes face to face with real pain and stress. I am no different.

    My wife and I met at BYU. We are both RM’s, we met through a mutual friend. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple. We both finished school at BYU and I continued on through professional school and a residency. We have 4 kids and looking back seemed like the perfect Mormon family. We did have problems, like all marriages, but felt that this life was only to prepare for the next. We both held upper level ward callings.

    My disaffection began 3 1/2 years ago when I noticed inconsistencies in the Old and New Testament. This led to a more thorough search into the Mormon church, eventually finding out the real history of the church. My shelf was overloaded, the stone and the hat story crashed it and I couldn’t believe anymore. I asked to be released from my calling and the rest has been shaming, invalidation, concern, “love, etc. I am a project to everyone in my ward. Today, I am told, my family is prayed for in leadership meetings.

    My wife has had a very difficult time accepting my transition. I get it, I understand where she is coming from. Her whole world was rocked and she is left picking up the pieces. We have gone to counseling once and are scheduled again. We have both suggested separation, but we have 4 kids. Separation and divorce would floor them, but living in an unhappy relationship isn’t good either.

    Looking back I came to realize how much of our relationship was built on the church. That was all we had in common. Today we are trying to find new connections, but it is difficult. Each time my wife goes to church, the temple, watches a Mormon film, talks to a neighbor–it reinforces our differences. During the early stages of my “crisis” I went through an angry phase. I was angry at god, the church, the members. I was tired of being treated like I was confused and lost. Many hurtful things were said to me by my wife and “friends”. Today I am in a good spot spiritually. My wife and I are still on questionable ground, it is day to day. Would I wish this experience on anyone? No, but I would not be who I am today without it.

  109. M
    January 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    It is quite telling in the number of “anonymous” or “withheld” sources of these heart-felt histories. Mine, too, must remain vague for the same reason. As one still in the closet for the most part regarding faith crisis, it is too risky to divulge this information in a dominantly Mormon community. Also, I truly hope to preserve my marriage, if that is at all possible.

    As the posterity of generations of Mormons, some named in the D&C, and an offspring of the 15 year old 3rd bride of a 40 year old man, one might say Mormonism defined the context of my entire family and identity. We were raised within the insular walls of the religion and taught that all meant to persecute us, and indeed some did (since I was raised in the eastern states). I performed all the expected rituals and observances, temple, mission, temple marriage (to a girl I still find so very attractive), and raised 6 children as best we could. I served in many leadership capacities including EQ presidencies, and Bishoprics, and 12 years as Gospel Doctrine teacher. When it came to studying the gospel, I was fervent and dove deep — reading all I could get my hands on. I even have a copy of Orson Pratt’s “The Seer.” The girl I married and I were uniquely situated for each other in temperament and likes, and founded our marriage (as taught) on Jesus and the prospect of an eternal family.

    In the late 90s, over the course of a few years, several of my friends and their families left the church. I marveled at this, but still maintained close friendship. We just did not talk about religion – just went hiking and such. Then, as the right wing politics moved further and further from Christ-taught principles, I started to become uncomfortable with the degree to which the Mormons seemed engaged with it. I talked to my church leaders about political comments made in church, but was pretty much brushed off. Then one of my former member friends showed me a piece about the Book of Abraham papyrus. I could not believe his information, and told him that I would prove him wrong by getting better information. One of my first stops (after looking at news releases from 1967) was to check FAIR. I give them credit for introducing me to many more controversial issues than I had sought. It also became abundantly clear that they were not a truthful or reliable source for information. A composite of statements from various historians, including mormon historians left much more than a little question in the matter. The clincher for me was an interview with Elder Holland wherein he agrees that Joseph did not translate any papyri to get the BoA, but that “maybe he looked at them and was inspired to write.” Of course, this is not what Joseph claimed or what other records assert. The rest of my story is closely aligned with the discoveries in the CES letter, though I had no knowledge of this until recently. The more I studied all sources, prayed fervently, and pondered mightily for answers — none came. I felt abandoned by God and cheated by leaders of the church. In reading Todd Compton’s “In Sacred Loneliness” I simply had to put it down. I could not swallow polyandry, and there was not explanation of it that was even attempted at that time on official church publications. It remains unexplained and unjustified — simply put — Joseph got it way wrong.

    When I revealed some of this to my wife, when I felt confident that I there would be no new information that the church would confess, she did as others have mentioned here. She accused me of listening to apostates, to being under the influence of the devil, and ruining our celestial marriage. She reminded me that I had made sacred promises to her in the temple, and that she expected me to honor them. How could I do so when I now even questioned the existence of a God? That the founding claims of the church were seriously doubtful was evident. I knew that this threatened my marriage and my family. How could I make things balance, if that was even possible?

    Over the next year, I contemplated suicide plans on numerous instances. I could not figure a way to keep my marriage or family together, and could not reconcile false faith to real history or doctrines. My wife and I had some serious arguments, but settled into not talking about it. I found myself removed from her emotional life and, since she had mentioned divorce, started to contemplate what a separation might mean. Finally, at one desperate point, I told her that I could not live this way any longer, and that I would not resist divorce if she wanted it. I would not contest it. In a few weeks she finally sensed my complete emotional withdrawal from her. She came to me one night in tears explaining her utter fear at the feeling of separation that had never been there before. She did not want to face divorce even if that meant living with an inactive spouse. The final chapter on this has yet to be written since we have kept this secret from our TBM families, and I continue to attend church (if I can stomach it), and she tries not to pressure me. Based on some information on Mormon Stories, I told her one day that I would talk with her about my faith crisis when she wished, but that I would not force this information upon her. So far, we have not talked much, but have tried to build our own relationship with some success. When my situation becomes known to our extended families, I cannot predict what will happen. I will follow my conscience where ever that may lead. The Lord answered none of my desperate prayers for guidance when clearly I let Him know that it would mean letting go of any belief in him, and his promises to answer prayers. Well, it is not true — or at least I am of no significance to such a being as to give promised answers. As to my marriage — it is a work in progress, and I hope not to have fail the decades that we have been together. I still really like her, and hope that we can age together.

  110. Withheld Kiwi
    January 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    John, My Bro, Delighted to share my story. Firstly, I wanted to say how sad and sorry it makes me, to read of those stories of separation, and the terrible heartache involved, just wanting to wish you all the best in your journey. Back in 2011 I experienced my faith crisis after discovering many troubling historical matters on the internet eg. Polyandry, varying 1st vision accounts, book Mormon translation, Mountain meadows. I became obsessed with Mormon history, wanting to know more, but also trying to save myself, but to No avail. I felt my existence shatter around me, feeling dirty, ashamed, angry, betrayed, used, and a deep sense of loss that translated to me taking my sh1t out on my poor wife. We started to argue and fight about everything, including random unrelated church subjects. Everything was heading down hill fast, my University studies lost priority, I couldn’t function as part of the elders q presidency, I was always pissed and angry all he time. Communicating with my wife about these troubling matters created a massive wall between us. It was only by mere coincidence that I stumbled on your Interviews with Edward Kimball (son of Spencer W Kimball), and for the first time, in what seemed like forever, I felt saved. I studied your podcasts, and showed the videos to my wife who finally GOT IT and understood where I was coming from. Mormon stories has saved me, and my marriage. We started to love each other again, and we are thriving together better than ever. Today, We are still active, (with conditions attached). I have learnt to have peace in my heart only as a direct result of your Mormon stories podcast. Your Podcast saved my life, my Marriage, and the marriages of other Quorum members and their families who I love, only ever wanting to support them, without ever passing judgement. Love you John. Your Bro in NZ

  111. J
    January 20, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    My issue was that I went through a faith crisis during my entire 20’s after serving a mission. I know longer believe the church was true when I reached 30 but I struggled with my faith so badly during my 20’s that I felt totally incapable of getting married because I really didn’t know where I stood or what I was going to do religiously and I just knew that I had to figure it out before falling in love because Mormons divorce over faith crises. Even in my religious classes at BYU when this came up it was viewed as a good enough reason to divorce. I was a very honest person and I also didn’t want to lie to a man about what I believed and I didn’t even know what I really thought. I went to BYU after my mission and during my faith crisis. I couldn’t really date or fall in love or get married because I was stuck in mormon central at school and at home and even if I wasn’t I was raised orthodox mormon and wanted to find someone in life that understood that and had similar morals even if he stopped believing the church was true. My parents lived in a very active Mormon city. Everyone in my family on both sides was very, very, very orthodox mormon. It makes for an incredibly lonely life journey but I do have to admit that I would rather feel lonely being alone than married with the same feeling and I would rather know the truth than live a life long religious lie.

    • J
      January 20, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      By the way, Mormon Stories helped me A TON to deal with being lonely and trying to make the right choices about dating. Mormon Stories is about living authentically and honestly and not hurting others. That is what I chose to do and it can be a very lonely and hard road but I think it is the right one because it is based on truth. It was part of the reason I decided not to date anyone seriously because I didn’t want to be the one to take away someones faith or to hurt someone in anyway. I understand that truth can be a relative thing and I really learned from Mormons Stories that some people can’t handle or enjoy the truth of another person if they don’t, deep down, feel it resinates with him or her and it can’t become his or her personal truth.
      Mormon Stories also gave me hope that there were other people out there like me and I wasn’t a bad person and there really were a lot of good and humble truth seekers out there that came upon church history issues that eventually felt betrayed by it all and who were not looking to hurt anyone but just needed some support through the pain. The truth is that you can’t feel betrayed by something or someone you never loved so obviously people on this site really loved the LDS church in their lives.
      .It really is life altering when you see another side to Mormonism and it is just going to happen more and more to the most loving and amazing people because the internet give indicators from simple searches such as searching Joseph Smith on Wikipedia. Wikipedia has information on him that I had never been taught in church and it was shocking to me. That is the most basic information and search there is and wikipedia is not a anti-mormon site. For this reason, I don’t know what the church thinks it will gain if it kicks John Dehlin out and ostracizes good people that are GOING to find out the truth no matter what and some are going to feel betrayed no matter what and this is going to affect their whole lives no matter what. It is like the church is turning its back on its own sheep because love and acceptance is conditional on believing, no matter what, that the church is 100% true and good.
      I really felt like if I had not stubbled upon it I would have definitely been a high ranking lds woman. I have relatives on both sides that served all the way up to the General RS presidency and the women are very strong in my family. I loved the church and would have sacrificed anything for it. The problem was that I found out that it was not actually what it made it self out to be. John Dehlin actually helped me stay in the church for many years. It is sad how the church is hurting the one person that built a bridge for lds people going through a faith crisis back to the lds church; if that is where they wanted or needed to be. If the church excommunicates John they are burning the biggest and largest bridge there is for lds people like myself back to be or get back to the lds faith in this life.

  112. FormerGradStudent
    January 20, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    When I had a faith crisis, things got rough. My wife seemed to feel that it was a simple decision I was making to lose my faith. I couldn’t understand why she continued to believe, despite everything we were learning. After a lot of heartbreak and all-night arguments, we finally settled into a comfortable truce. I feel that resources like Mormon Stories and other open discussion groups helped us navigate the challenges of a faith crisis. John’s rather nuanced take on Mormonism allows people from both believing and non-believing sides to see the other person’s position better.

  113. Emily
    January 20, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    i recently opened up to my TBM husband about my doubts/disbelief, and he said that he couldn’t see how our marriage could work because the church is “everything” to him.

    He also said that he didn’t know how we could have children together.

    It’s been devestating. But hopefully we’ll find a way to work through it with counseling.

  114. CatherineWO
    January 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    When I started struggling with my faith, my husband was really very understanding, because he could see the emotional abuse I was enduring from some ward members. However, he was understandably hurt, and we both questioned how our marriage of almost forty years would survive. We argued and said things we both regretted. Then I found Mormon Stories and listened to advice from John and others who had been through this. A real turning point (for the better) was when I met with John and a few other people for an informal discussion at a cafe in Ogden one day. This group gave me hope that it is possible to live and thrive in a mixed-faith marriage. John and the MS community have continued to be supportive, and I can now say that my marriage is stronger than ever before. I hate to think what would have been the outcome had I not met John and become involved in Mormon Stories groups.

  115. David
    January 20, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I was raised LDS but in a broken dysfunctional home. As a teen, I was very troubled. I started smoking at 13 and was involved in plenty of alcohol, drugs and criminal activity. At about the age of 20, I had a deeply spiritual experience after a biblical discussion with a Jehovah’s Witness. I immediately threw away my cigarettes and flushed my bag of weed and told my mother that I was going on an LDS mission. About six months later after an interview with Marlin K. Jensen, I was on my way to the South Carolina Columbia mission. I served honorably and started looking for a wife as soon as I came home because I was instructed to do that. I came home on a Thursday and met my future wife at church the following Sunday. She was speaking at my ward because she had recently returned home from a mission in Portugal. This was in November 1994 and we were married in April 1995.
    I had my faith crisis in 2004. I started drinking on occasion about this time which for me was not a good idea since both my father and grand father died at an early age from alcoholism. Obviously the combination of my faith crisis in combination with some bad behavior on my part which was a result of a loss of moral compass placed my marriage under tremendous stress. I began the process of recovery from my alcoholism in 2010 and I’m happy to be able to say that I am now fully recovered thanks to the AA program and also to Mormon Stories podcasts. I came across John Dehlin in 2010 when he interviewed Shawn McCraney. John’s podcasts have helped me to think of Mormonism in a different and more positive way which helped me to remove my resentments (mostly) about the church which helped with my recovery and has also helped my wife and I to come to some reasonable agreements related to our differences in belief and church activity.

  116. Wes
    January 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I was born in the church and both of my parents were returned missionaries. When I was 12, my dad (a highly intelligent and educated man) announced to the family that he had weighed the evidence and found the Book of Mormon to be a work of fiction. What followed was a decade that I describe as the Cold War in which my parents’ relationship teetered on the brink of divorce.

    My mom was ashamed of my “apostate” father and expressed her fear that we (my siblings and I) would turn out like him. It was a regular occurrence to find my mom late at night, crying about how my dad had betrayed her and everything she thought she was getting when she married him in the temple. In her narrative she blamed my dad’s greed (he had stopped paying tithing) as the reason for his loss of testimony, and gradually she adopted an anti-intellectual posture as he continued to justify his conclusions with well-researched claims (many of which the church now admits).

    As I grew in the Aaronic priesthood, my mom encouraged me to follow my priesthood leaders and reject the “anti-mormon” influence of my dad. I remember asking my priesthood leader what would happen to my family in the afterlife, and he cruelly told me that my dad would be cast out and my mom would be “given” to another worthy man. I was crushed. As time went on, this church leader took an unusually strong interest in my spiritual development and began referring to me as the son he never had, sitting with his arm around me in church meetings and writing letters to me claiming that our spirits were connected in the pre-existence. When my dad found one such letter, he walked straight to the bishop’s home, handed him the letter and said “You keep this man away from my son.” At the time I thought my dad was trying to derail my church activity, but later it became clear that he had saved me from the awful grooming of a pedophile (now excommunicated). As I became a grown man, I discarded the image of my dad as a faithless apostate and began to see him as the incredibly strong, confident, humble, kind and courageous man that he is. It now seems so absurd that my mom would worry that her sons would turn out like their father when he was such an exemplary man who to this day has never put anything above his wife and children.

    Miraculously my parents managed to stay together as my dad softened his approach to religion; he began focusing on the positive in the church community and the universal truths it shares with other faiths. In some ways he has walked an impossible middle ground; giving father’s blessings but not really believing in priesthood authority; making the occasional “donation” so he could go to the temple when his kids got married; teaching lessons in High Priests that everyone enjoys without ever mentioning the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. Ultimately my dad made a compromise with his own intellect and contempt of dogma that allowed him to hold his family together and meet my mom somewhere in the middle.

    I feel a lot of empathy for both of my parents and understand their differences over religion, but in my own romantic life I have avoided zealots like the plague and was blessed to marry the most loving and supportive woman I could have hoped for and together we pull the positive from our Mormon and Catholic heritages while rejecting doctrinal absolutism and organizational control. God is love and love transcends religion.

  117. Anon
    January 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    These stories are heartbreaking to read. I am in the middle of my faith crisis and not completely certain of where I am headed.

    My crisis started when I was the seminary teacher. I was studying the scriptures more than I had ever in my life. I had questions and asked my husband about these troubling issues. We always have had a very close relationship but it has had its up and downs. He is my best friend, he is smart, he is rational, he is a TBM, he loves me and I thought he was the right person to ask to help me understand. Well he freaked out. He told me he didn’t want to talk about these issues and shut down.

    I respected that but was heart broken to have no one to help me. Little did I know that that what I said affected him. He was researching the things I had asked him about on his own. He found Mormon Stories and he discovered the truth and so much more. Now he is going through his own faith crisis. At first he was so bitter towards me because it was “all my fault”. He is in a “high ranking” calling and is horribly hurt, depressed, angry, sad, frustrated, heart broken and filled with anxiety. He can barely function and while we are now going through this together it is causing such strain on our marriage. I’ve never seen this kind of pain and hurt in his eyes. We are struggling with future decisions to make as we both are very active in our callings and our families are all very devote. We are afraid of the repercussions this will have on the people closes to us, the people in our ward and most importantly our children.

    Our marriage has been through some extremely hard times but nothing compares to this. We are struggling to keep it together. It’s horrible and I don’t wish this on anyone. My husband thankfully no longer blames me. He knows it’s not my fault we have been lied to our entire lives. We are working to resolve this together and will hopefully come out stronger and better on the other side. I’m grateful Mormon Stories was there to help him see where I was coming from. I’m not sure what would have happened without it.

  118. Mv
    January 20, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I experienced a divorce due to a loss in belief in the lds religion. I did not go through the temple until a week before my wedding due to choosing not to serve a mission. The experience for me was very conflicting. I was very uncomfortable taking out my endowments and almost felt like I was being held hostage due to the pressure that if I changed my mind about the temple that I would possibly lose my partner, and cause all of the financial outlay for the wedding to be wasted. Very shortly after I was married I confided in my wife that I didn’t feel right about the temple. She agreed that it was a little weird and asked that I just keep going and maybe it would start to feel better over time. This advice was regularly given in talks and from friends. Hearing people say that made me even more uncomfortable with the temple. I didn’t want to brainwash myself. I thought it should have been a good experience from the first moment I went.

    A few months later I decided to research the history of the temple ceremony on my own, that led me to researching a lot of church history etc for the next year. I confided in my wife a few months in that there were things about church history that really bothered me and she completely lost it. That was a traumatic experience. She really struggled with it and refused to educate herself and thought that I was being deceived. We decided to give it a year of thought and trying to deal with the issues this was causing.

    A year went by. I decided somewhere in that year to not attend church or pay tithing anymore. I just couldn’t live my life acting like a believer. I felt like I was lied to about multiple things and other things I just didn’t agree with. So at this point I was ready to say that I didn’t see myself ever returning to church. I just didn’t trust that it was based in truth or that the leadership was trustworthy. During this year I had gained 50lbs due to the stress of worrying about my wife, feeling sad about the situation etc, and trying to come up with a scenario that kept us together. While deciding to divorce my wife said to me that she would wait for me. I asked what she meant by that and she said that she would wait for me to come back to the church. I didn’t want that. I wanted to be loved for who I am and not what I believed. I also could not imagine going through life with a partner that was always waiting and hoping for something that I didn’t see as possible. I couldn’t put her through that pain. So we divorced.

    I have never doubted that divorcing was the right decision in our case. I’m not advocating that it’s the right path for others in similar situations, but for us it was the best decision. We weren’t soul mates. We were brought together due to common goals. She wanted a worthy priesthood holder, which I was. And I was looking for a wife that was worthy to be married in the temple and had a lot of the same qualities of my mother. We were also attracted to each other which helped : ). But we weren’t soul mates. I’ve now experienced that with someone else now years and years later, and can say with surety that I didn’t get married for the right reasons the first time around.

    10 years later and I feel like I am a lot closer to being the best version of myself. I know who I am, I am truly happy, and I feel more free to follow the edicts of my own moral compass. Some people find that in the lds church. I didn’t.

  119. Hmm
    January 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Yes. I’ve been going through a “faith crisis” for the past half year (although I would say that I’m just now coming to terms with the fact that the Church is having a truth crisis). My wife preceded me by a few months, but she chooses to stay active. As I’ve been going through my transition, this has put some strain on our marriage, but we’ve managed to work through it and arrive at a pretty good spot. It probably helps that I have no desire to change my strict LDS lifestyle , my wife also feels similar to me, and I don’t mind going to church (I love Mormons, even though the institutional Church is so highly flawed). Dehlin’s article on how to stay has probably been the biggest single factor in helping me see a path forward in the church. Most of the voices I hear on the internet basically say you should abandon the church, but Dehlin offers understanding and perspective that helps me to stay–mainly for the benefit of my wife and many children, but also with the hopes that I can re-forge my faith in the coming years.

  120. Ken
    January 20, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    My story is similar to a lot of others around here but it is mine. I have a wife and two young children. My mormon resume/cred would be pretty high. Growing up my father was a bishop for years. Baptised at 8, seminary, mission to Brazil, graduation from BYU-Idaho, married in SLC temple, etc. We even read the BoM together as a challenge from our stake this year.
    Around July 4th 2014 I stumbled across the CES letter from a post on reddit. Within moments my world went from believing and completely faithful to confused and lost.
    I attempted to speak with my wife about my concerns. Rock in the hat, JS polygamy, polyandry, BY, errors in the BoM from the King James bible, and other concerns that I began to contemplate. Things were very difficult for my wife and I as we could not even come to any discussion on any of these topics. As soon as I would say, “I have questions…” she would get so angry and we would not speak to each other for days and even up to a week. She would not even consider any of these things to be true. She would not even look at the church’s essays on the same issues in which I have problems.
    I started listening to dehlin and mormon stories through a recommendation from a brother. There are 5 boys in my family and all served missions. 3/5 of these brothers are currently leaving the church because of these issues discovered. I have found solace in the podcasts as it feels like a safe place to hear others discuss their issues within mormonism. I enjoyed grant palmer, michael coe, the givens, todd compton, simon sutherton, and even the other believing members such as Richard Bushman.
    This was the first time and place where I could listen to educated minds debate these difficult issues without the fear of being judged by friends and family. This was helpful for me to find peace in my life. I finally was able to confront my wife again to have a serious conversation. I told her that I had lost my testimony and instantly she cried and demanded to know what I was up to. What sin was I hiding from her. She had recently started snooping on me and felt that I was looking at porn or masturbating. I have been married 10 years and have had an awesome marriage up until this point. During this conversation she said, “It would have been better if you would have had an affair!” I feel like the church was directly responsible for her feelings of unacceptance or distrust in my character.
    I stopped paying tithing but continue to attend meetings in order to support my wife. I love her and want to make things work but the issues are putting a large burden on our marriage. Hopefully this is what john is looking for. I thank him for his hard work and have thought about contacting him personally for therapy or converations off line. Either way John’s work has really helped me.

  121. Jill
    January 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Ten years ago my son started reparative therapy. I was with him for the very first session where we were told there was an 80% chance of change if we had faith and followed the advice of the therapist. And one more thing…my son would have to start having a quality relationship with his dad or the SSA was here to stay. The therapist essentially said that part of the reason my son was gay was because he never bonded, never felt attached to another man. Hmmm… sound familiar? Typical reparative therapy advice. Well, I took it to heart. I believed. Boy did I ever believe.

    Just as I had been a faithful Mormon all my life, I was now a faithful believer of reparative therapy. Eighty percent chance of change? I’m in. My husband was quite defensive. (Of course.) It’s almost like he rebelled against the therapy. He was all about praying and fasting and going to the temple. (I attended weekly for a year. He attended weekly for two years.) However, he didn’t change in his actions towards our son. He didn’t spend the allotted, designated quality-activity-time, and I just fell apart. How was our son ever going to get “better?” I got angrier and angrier. I blamed him for our son’s orientation.

    It was a very stressful, ugly time, and we talked about divorce several times. Our marriage wasn’t ideal to begin with, and this only complicated matters. Thankfully, things are different now. My son is happier than he’s ever been, and has left the Church. My husband is still struggling to reconcile his beliefs and homosexuality. I’ve had a major faith crises, but am completely at peace concerning my dear, wonderful gay son. If it wasn’t for John Dehlin, Mormon Stories, Carol Lyn Pearson, Caitlyn Ryan, and Affirmation, I would still be hurting. I’ve healed because of them. Thank you, John.

  122. January 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I am not sure I am like the others. I am not disaffected just not happy with what I am offered in church. I crave more. I started listening to your podcast about 4 years ago. I was angry, angry with my Mom and angry with God. It was the episode on Fowlers stages of faith that helped me the most.

    I am no longer angry and I have a deeper universal small “c” catholic faith.

    I still believe in the prophetic vision of Joseph Smith even if I recognize his failings and imperfections. I have studied church history for 36 years now and have always been aware of the problems.

    I have searched for and found other prophetic voices. True religion comes between the faith of Thomas More and the vision of William Tyndale.

    William Tyndale may have lived a more pure life but he did not have to balance the needs of his family, his church and his king. To disobey either his church or his king was a death sentence. He was a reformer who believed even in the education of woman. That does not justify his burning of heretics as the chancellor of England.

    Men of God have always needed to grow beyond the Times they were raised in. To raise a family on the Wasatch Front can be a difficult balancing act. I like to joke that my family has been less active since grandma Harmon remained behind in Carthage and married my grandfather Bassett.

    I am a Mormon, they are my tribe. I forgive them as they forgive me. They are patient with my high functioning autism. I bite my tongue and hold my peace when I tire of their seminary catechisms in Sunday school.

    We seek to love and serve each other and we yearn to be a little more like our older brother Jesus Christ.

  123. drb
    January 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    John, your podcasts have been a huge blessing in my marriage. I just wish you would have been there decades ago…

    I am married to a man I adore, and he couldn’t be a more loving, great man. Times have been stressful as of late because of my crisis of ‘faith.’ (I disagree with the term, as I have a stronger faith in Christ, but absolutely no faith in the corrupt JS, which seems to be our church’s litmus test for ‘worthiness.’)
    My husband has asked me on several occasions recently if I wanted a divorce because I have wanted to send in my letter of resignation. At first, he was so despondent that he took off for hours and contemplated committing suicide. YES, we have had serious challenges to our marriage this year because of my crisis of ‘faith’ in a liar’s story. However, your podcasts have helped my husband come down from his cliff of desperation, and we are doing much better.
    I have known for decades that we were putting our faith in a con man. However, I couldn’t talk to my husband about it without lots of anger by both of us until I found your podcast about why faithful Mormons leave. It was so calm, and it took away so much of the demonizing and accusations that tend to be spouted by most active members.
    Those who haven’t lived through 40 years of dots that didn’t connect about the religion we have dedicated our lives and our children’s lives to don’t understand how censured we feel. That’s a lot of ‘lessons’ that we listen to that are full of half-truths and downright lies. That’s a lot of listening to a false definition of words like “faithful” and “righteous” and “worthy” mean, none of which were founded on Christ’s love, example, and life. They were all about CHURCH and Joseph Smith and his word (not the Lord’s word). I found myself ‘unworthy’ of a temple recommend because I had received knowledge of Christ’s grace, and learned that JS was not who he claimed to be, nor did he do what he claimed to do. Why would integrity and faith in Christ translate to being ‘unworthy’ in ‘Christ’s’ church?
    I felt like I was ‘dancing with crazy.’ I did not find solace in this mass of contradictions until this year when I found John Dehlin’s “Why faithful leave.” All that I had learned through the years that put me at odds with the status quo in church was addressed!! What did I learn in the many years before I found Mormon Stories? Jan Shipp herself told me why blacks were readmitted, Dr. Spencer Wells (National Geographic’s Genome project – world expert in DNA mapping) spoke about the tracing of mankind (spoiler alert! NOT NY). I asked him about the DNA evidence and Jewish markers in the Americas, and he verified that there is NO evidence), and I even spoke to an American archeologist while I was in Guatemala, and he verified that the pyramids were NOT built by descendents of the Jews. AMAZING how the Lord places key people in my life to reveal His truth?!?
    Still, I needed someone else, someone with a calm, kind spirit, someone who had really put a lot of thought and study into it, to ‘speak’ to my husband. Thank you, thank you. It is helping my husband come down from the cliff of despair, and it’s given me a place to interact.
    Remember the 40 years of silence? I finally have the freedom of speech and the freedom of thought I was denied in my oppressive church environment. When my husband wants me to stop reading and connecting and ‘talking,’ I told him that I have been talked AT for SO many years. I NEED to talk and express my real thoughts! That has been a healthy outlet for me, and I couldn’t thank you more for that.

  124. L
    January 20, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I am somewhat new to this whole process of disaffection. I grew up in the church and although had some wild times as a teenager, eventually went to BYU and met and married my husband there. I can honestly say that our entire relationship was based around the church and its teachings. We now have four beautiful and healthy children. I cannot imagine my life without them. In the later part of 2014, I went to lunch with a friend who was excommunicated from the church a few years ago. I used this lunch as an excuse to talk to her about some of my concerns over church teachings and particularly my distaste for the temple. She pointed me to cesletter.com and my shelf officially broke. I have been slowly sharing my doubts with my husband during this time. He in turn has doubled down on everything church-related. If he is not at work, he is home reading scriptures or books written by apostles, writing in his journal, attending the temple, etc. He has no other interests in life and his resentment of me and my new beliefs is palpable. I don’t know how much longer I can carry on this charade of church attendance and nightly scripture reading/family prayer. It is my personal hell. I hear of others bringing their spouses and children with them out of the church, but it would be a true miracle for my husband to ever give an inch on this.

  125. Ckb
    January 20, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    My husband and I had been married for 6 years when my husband told me he didn’t believe in the church anymore. He hadn’t been researching church history or anything like that, he just simply stated that he never really believed it, and just tried to believe it for as long as he could but that he didn’t want to go to church anymore. He and I received our endowments on the same day because he didn’t go on a mission. When he broke the news that he didn’t believe, he also said that when we went through the temple the first time that he wanted to get up and walk out in the middle of it and never go back because it was so creepy and weird.
    My husband and I were always worthy temple recommend holders. We both had some issues with the church (mostly the people and culture) but would often have discussions about the church being flawed, but that the gospel was true. So we kept going, and kept trying to believe. My husband worked in real estate at the time, and part of the reason he just couldn’t bring himself to go to church anymore was because of the incredibly dishonest members he had to deal with almost daily. He would come home from work and tell me about these people who would promise payment for his services and say things like “don’t worry, I’m good for the money, I’m a bishop” and then when payment was due, suddenly these members would disappear. Even the prophets grandson-in-law said to my husband once “Well, the appraisal didn’t come in where I wanted it to, so why should I pay you?”
    The dishonesty my husband had to deal with here in Utah, made it even more difficult for him to want to be mormon. And I would always respond the same when he told me these things “well, people aren’t perfect, but the gospel is.”
    When I was pregnant with our second child, my husband broke the news that he didn’t believe and never wanted to go back. I had a few issues with the church (prop 8 had just happened) but I just kept trying to have faith and thought that my husband and I were on the same page. I didn’t know what to do when he told me. I got upset, and I told him that this wasn’t what I had signed up for and if I would have known that he didn’t believe in the church that I never would have married him. I told him he didn’t get to just change his mind. I gave him such a hard time, that he said he would come to church with me to support me. I told him I did not want to be the woman who goes to church alone with the kids while the rest of the ward feels sorry for her.
    Every Sunday was a battle. I truly thought that the eternal salvation of my family was on my shoulders and that if I didn’t make my husband go to church, we couldn’t be together for eternity. I thought that it was just a matter of time before he would hear a lesson at church and start to believe again. I really thought I was doing the right thing, forcing him to go. Yet, every Sunday he would come home from church even more disgruntled and frustrated with the church. I didn’t realize that forcing someone to do something they don’t like to do, doesn’t make them suddenly like it. It makes them resentful.
    When my husband first told me he didn’t believe, I didn’t know what to do. My first thought was that I should divorce him. I had been taught since I was a small child that if I did what I was supposed to do, made good choices, married in the temple and had children, that everything would work out. Suddenly my eternal family was hanging by a thread, and there was no church article or lessons that ever told me how I should handle it.
    I decided that I finally needed to know for myself that the church was true. I had never received the “burning in the bosom” and always thought that I just hadn’t tried hard enough to get it. So I needed to know, I needed my point of no return answer. I threw myself into my calling, I went to the temple, I volunteered to clean the church and the temple, I read my scriptures and prayed harder than I ever had before.
    During this time, my marriage was working, but it certainly was a difficult time for both of us. I had decided that I wasn’t going to leave my husband because I loved him and he was a good man. I had decided that god would never want me to split up a happy family and that I just needed to keep the faith and eventually he would come back.
    I was trying to strengthen my testimony at that time, yet, all kinds of new information about the church and its history kept coming to light in the news and on other websites. The more I read about the church, the more uncertain I became about it’s truthfulness. The more answers I tried to find, the less I believed. And after several years of desperately trying to find the church true, I finally realized that it was not. My husband had no idea my faith was wavering because I had been trying so hard to be faithful. I called him at work one day and told him that I didn’t believe in the church anymore.
    My husband and I ended up leaving the church together. I realized that I had been very wrong to force him to go to church. I felt very fortunate that we were able to leave together, and our marriage became much much better after that. I’m so grateful that I didn’t divorce him over his beliefs. It would have destroyed our children and our lives.

  126. Douglas Satterfield
    January 20, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I was born and raised in the church, 3rd generation Mormon, in a very active large family in southeast Idaho. I was always fairly active over the course of my life and just accepted and did not question the principles of the gospel I was taught by my parents, church, seminary, mission, and attending BYU after returning from a mission in 1966. I met a freshman girl at BYU and we were married in 1967 and were sealed in the Logan Temple. I fulfilled a military career after graduation as a pilot in the Air Force, then later as an optometrist in the US Navy from which I retired in 1996 then moving to Orem, Utah where I practiced my profession and still live today. My wife and I had a good marriage and raised 6 wonderful children. We were both quite active in the church over all those years and filled many callings. My wife was RS president at least twice as well as many other callings, while I was in many various callings including HP group leader, bishopric, and high council.

    About 2005 a local paper article on the Mountain Meadows Massacre got me very interested in researching that event which led to a much more detailed study and research of Mormon history and especially on issues of things I had never ever learned of before and that were totally new to me. All our children except a handicapped daughter had grown and moved on from our home at that time. My wife became very concerned with what I was studying and problems it was causing me with my belief in the founding principles of the church. She begged me to stop as she felt sure that satan must be leading me astray. I was very stubborn and told her that I was just seeking truth and felt no influence of a negative nature like satan would have been. She refused to look at anything I was finding that would cause any doubt in the church as she was totally happy with what she believed and did not want to look at anything that would maybe move her away from that. We went through a year or more of a very difficult time in our relationship with me losing total belief and my stopping my attendance to church. I really did not totally realize just how badly this was affecting her until I came home one day and she announced she was leaving me and going to live with a friend. She admitted that she had talked with our church leaders about how badly she was doing and that I was not going to change and come back to the church, and they had advised her that under the circumstances she had explained to them that divorce may be best for her. I was totally devasted. The last thing I ever wanted was to lose the love of my life. Without going into all the details, all my efforts to keep our marriage together, it failed and sadly, we were divorced in 2007. I was alone at age 62 for the first time in my life since I was married at age 23. I felt very comfortable about my beliefs at the time but but shocked and very hurt that it had cost me what I considered a very comfortable and happy marriage. Since that time I have had no regrets at all about leaving the Mormon church but still remain quite sad about my broken marriage to a woman I still love. I did remarry another woman about a year later later which I rushed into too quickly and that marriage failed after 5 years.

    I am happy with my life now except of course lonely. I have become quite agnostic as to religion and God but that really seems to be where my logic and rational thought have taken me. I have a fear now of trying marriage again but am working hard at making some good friendships with people I can relate to. That is the short version of my story and how I got to where I am now. I really feel very sorry for all the marriages and relationships that have been damaged in a similar way as mine because of differences in beliefs concerning religion. I would hope that true love would conquer and get past these kind of differences but sadly that does not always happen.

  127. RC
    January 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    At age 23, I was divorced.

    There were several factors that led to our divorce, but the straw that broke the camels back was that he no longer believed; I just couldn’t imagine life with a “faithless” man. I had all the typical, closed minded responses: “He must be sinning or wants to. He is decieved. He can’t have the spirit with him so he’s off the path.” Blah blah blah. Truthfully, once we found something I believed at the time to be “irreconcilable,” we were both happy to get out of the stagnant relationship anyway.  It still hurt.

    Fast forward. I remarry in the temple. About 3 1/2 years in, I have a faith crisis of my own. I spent months sick to my stomach because I knew how I’d treated my ex when HE stopped believing. I took comfort in knowing that my current husband and I have a better relationship, but I was still terrified that I might lose everything. I deserved it, after all; I left someone for the exact thing I was now going through.

    Cue Mormon Stories podcast. I stumbled on the episodes on making a marriage work through a loss of belief in the church. I’m couldn’t get enough. I was filed with hope. I became brave enough to tell my husband who, although on a different page with church than me, has been extremely supportive. Over the last year I’ve soaked up numerous episodes, and all have been a positive influence in my life and in my marriage.

    Before MS podcasts, I wasn’t sure if it WAS possible for marriages to succeed or even thrive through a faith crisis. We’re a team, we’re in this together. And I owe a huge thanks to MS for giving me hope, examples, and tools to get us through this.

  128. Rick
    January 20, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Sometime around 2006 my wife and I were called as family history consultants. We were assigned to introduce the Ward members to the church software “New Family Search”. As I explored the website I looked up the records of some of the early church leaders like Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. I had been led to believe that Joseph had additional wives sealed to him posthumously. I was shocked to see that he actually took on plural wives while married to Emma. The impression that the LDS church gives today is that Joseph was only married to Emma so I was disheartened to see that he was actually married to dozens of other women. The real blow for me was in seeing from the dates of both marriages and births that Joseph had been sealed to other living active LDS members’ wives. I went online to look up the journals of some of these people so I could better understand their stories. The story of Henry Jacobs was particularly disturbing with his wife being taken by both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young while married and cohabiting with her husband Henry and their two sons. The intrusion of Church leaders into this family is mind boggling especially when Zina had refused the Prophet Smith’s advances several times before being told by Joseph that his life had been threatened by an angel with a drawn sword. Equally disturbing was her sealing for time to Brigham Young who allowed her to continue to live with her husband Henry for a portion of the difficult trek West and the birth of her second son before she was ultimately passed along to Brigham to whom she bore a daughter.

    I just could not understand why these church leaders were meddling in the lives of their subordinate ward members. The adage that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely came to mind.

    Having never heard of or being aware of any Biblical example of polyandry in the Christian record I become very vocal about my impressions regarding this corruption.

    My wife and I have both had a history of serving in leadership callings in the church but for her my assessment of Joseph Smith being a fallen prophet caused her to lose her testimony and once free of the constraints of LDS standards decided to leave the family and asked for a divorce. It seemed the Church was the glue in our relationship and the only thing we had in common. I was left to raise our three children on my own.

    I almost left the church myself as well but found the practical support that I received from the ward with my children in my new reality as a single parent to be a huge asset. I really don’t know how I would have coped without this help from the Church programs which gave my kids the stability they needed to adjust to their mothers’ absence. Their mother not only stopped living the standards but was ultimately excommunicated within the year following our divorce.

    I was left struggling to pick up the pieces of my life as a member in good standing but yet lacking in the faith I once had of the truth claims of the LDS Church. I made a commitment to remain worthy in order to ordain my son as he advanced in the priesthood. He was eight years old at the time. As the years passed and depression set in we lost our house and my business when the housing market collapsed.

    My faith concerns piled up as I tried to investigate the truth behind the difficult history surrounding Mormonism. It was at this time that I happened upon the Mormon Stories podcast website. There I found several interviews with LDS authors and historians who had the answers I was looking for. I learned that Joseph was setting up celestial dynasties through his sealing to these various families and that the passing of plural wives to other members of the twelve apostles was in accordance with a Levitical law where if a man dies he would have his brother take upon himself dead man’s widow to wife and raise up seed unto him. Joseph smith looked upon the members of the twelve as his brothers. This I learned from the Mormon Stories Podcasts I listened to which provided recommendations for additional reading materials and scriptural sources.

    Although I could then follow some source of logic that lead to these ill-fated choices that Joseph Smith made I was left with my own sense of right and wrong and a decision to make as to whether these early leaders of the church were inspired by God or some other source. Regardless of the source I determined that I would not be interested in following such a God that was so shortsighted as to not see the ultimate damage which would result from the implementation of such a reckless practice as polygamy/polyandry. One is struck with the question, where would the Lord’s Church be today without this practice? All of the ills that fell upon the early Mormon communities had at their root the rumors of this practice of plurality of wives. I believe that a church truly lead by God in that day would have avoided the quagmires of such societal derision and been more progressive in grating equality to persons of African heritage, rather than priesthood restriction and the pontificating fictitious reasons why persons of color were “less than”.

    I more I learned about the early church history the more my faith in Mormonism was eroded. One of the things that I head John Dehlin talk about on his podcasts that was most helpful to me was his explanation of how he overcame his faith crisis in going on a journey of reconstruction.

    With the new found knowledge I had acquired and John Delhin’s example of re-constructionalism I dropped my Mormon identity and embraced my core which is my faith in Jesus Christ. I now refer to myself as a “Christian” who worships at the Church of Jesus Christ. I keep all of the standards of the LDS Faith and have no problem qualifying for a Temple recommend. I have successfully raised my three children in the Faith. My first daughter served a successful LDS mission and attends BYU Prove. My second daughter is currently serving an LDS mission and my son now almost 15 is a worthy Teacher in the Aaronic priesthood and continues to express his goal to also serve a full time LDS mission. I have shared with my children all of the concerns I have regarding the minefield which is Mormon history. I have shown them the video John Dehlin made called “Top 5 Myths and Truths about Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church”. I am currently sharing with my son the video interview series which John did with Jeremy Runnells regarding the CES Letter and yet this has done nothing to shake the testimonies of my children while they enjoy the positive aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ.

  129. Carlene
    January 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    After we both served missions, met in a singles ward, my husband served as a branch president and lived a typical active Mormon family life, in 2009 my husband told me he no longer believed the teachings of the LDS church. We had been married for 6 years and our daughter was 2 1/2. He continued as branch president for another year and stuck to “preaching Christ” from the pulpit.

    It crushed me. We had many long late night talks, but he approached this as a very personal experience and so I felt distant. He was not very compassionate to my feelings since he had been coming to this change over time. Rough Stone Rolling kind of got it all rolling for him. But the church’s finances and many other issues also contributed to his change. Since I hadn’t read or heard the podcasts, etc. that he had, I was in a bad place. It felt like sandpaper was being rubbed on my brain, like I had built a sand castle that I thought was permanent and was now seeing it wash away with the tide. Since this was his personal journey, he didn’t want me to talk with anyone about it. He wasn’t ready to share. I couldn’t talk to my close friends or family. I felt utterly alone and was going crazy.

    That is when I started listening to Mormon Stories, reading Faces East and Stay LDS. I was also lucky enough to have the Mormon Therapist, Natasha Helfer Parker in my ward. These are the things that literally saved my life that year. My husband was doing and believing all the things that we had been taught not to do or believe our whole lives because they would bring unhappiness. And yet he was happier than ever, free. I on the other hand became deeply depressed and developed high anxiety, lost 20 lbs, couldn’t sleep, and felt like dying. No one to talk with, no answers for my confusion.

    I was lucky enough to speak with John Dehlin by phone a couple times while he was in school and also with Natasha Helfer Parker. I listened to the podcasts that my husband had listened to in order to understand where he was coming from. I started practicing mindfulness and meditation. I wanted to leave, but I sat in the pain and let time do the healing. I met with a therapist and eventually we both went to marriage therapy for 2 1/2 years.

    Mormon Stories with John, Faces East, Stay LDS, and Natasha literally SAVED MY LIFE. I kept going to church although my husband stopped after that year as branch president. It was very difficult with all the cognitive dissonance. But I gave it time. Time is a great healer.

    My husband and I make space for each others beliefs and paradigms. We also adjust a bit for each other. It has not been easy, but it has gotten easier. I have learned to let go and allow. That has brought a lot of peace.

  130. TMK
    January 20, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    I just moved into my friends basement last week after a couple years of trying to make it work with my dear TBM wife. I don’t think she will ever accept my new feelings and stance on the LDS church. I grew up in the church, RM, Temple, etc… I slowly lost my testimony over the past 5 years, it was gone for good after spending months poring over early church history and trying to make sense of how God could create such a confusing and diffcult to piece together puzzle of a church. I no longer believe he did.

    I love her very much and it is excruciating not to be with my kids every day. Luckily, she is allowing me, for now anyway, to see them as much as I can. Dealing with the feeling of loss, feeling like a failure as a dad, husband, etc. is more difficult. I felt alone when I started this journey, and knew my world would blow up when I finally made my stance that I did not want to follow this religion. I can’t believe I am losing my family over a church that is all about.. family…

    We originally decided to separate in November, but I asked her to put it off till after Christmas for the kids. One of the conditions was to stop listening to the “anti-mormon podcasts”. sad, since discovering mormon stories is what kept me sane for the past year. I also agreed not to share any of my “anti-mormon” ideas with our children. My son is on a mission, and knows nothing about this yet.. I am still proud of him and I believe he will be accepting of where I am at.

    My wife has told me repeatedly she will never accept my new beliefs, lifestyle choices,etc. She believes I have been led astray by the adversary and am lost. All my other relationships are starting to let me know what they think.. It is an incredibly painful place to be.

    I asked her if I stayed and followed all the LDS rules, went to church, etc while we continued to work on our relationship if that would work. She said, no – nothing would ever change until I believed again.. I am still hoping we can work it out, but I am also starting to realize that being with someone who will accept me for who I am, and what I think, may be better for both of us. These stories shared here have been so helpful to me. Especially, to see the light at the end of the tunnel and happiness that so many of you have found. I hope for the same. This church has NO support system for anyone who struggles with this – either get back on the boat or drown..

    TRUTH IS HAPPINESS

  131. Kelly Sperry
    January 20, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I was YW president and a temple ordinance worker in Michigan in 2009 when my marriage had reached it’s breaking point. Our marriage counselor–who was Mormon, a woman, and in RS stake presidency, cautioned me to not listen to my bishop who was telling me to give my husband an ultimatum and that he would support me in a divorce if I made that decision. When I told the bishop what the professional counselor said he got arrogant and smirked “well, do what you want then.” I felt like I was not sustaining my bishop. I felt like he wasn’t going to support me unless I did what he counseled. I was frighten end and confused because I had been taught that my bishop spoke for The Lord. That he was lead and directed by Him and was intimately aware of the needs of the members in the ward–So how come he was giving me counsel that didn’t feel right and was contrary to our trained marriage counselor’s? During this time I was fasting 24 hrs up to 3 days per week. Scripture study went from 1 to 2 hrs. Prayer time and journal writing doubled. I was desperate and doing everything I had been told to do in order to be worthy of gods help. Nothing was changing only getting worse. It wasn’t until I listened to John Dehlin’s Why People Leave that I could finally take a deep breath and not feel weighed down with anxiety. I was able to listen to my husband and understand his perspective. I stopped judging. I started to love and accept my husband how he was–which was an amazing man who happened to not believe in god anymore. It was because of John’s podcast that my husband and I were able to talk about hard things, feel safe and be authentic. I give him credit for saving our marriage. And because we stayed together after 13 years of marriage we now have the most beautiful daughter and son. I wouldn’t have them if I would have listened to our bishop. We love you John. Sincerely, Kelly & Stu Sperry

  132. tessa
    January 20, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    I started my faith crisis when my husband was in the bishopric. He was a very dedicated leader and I felt like a single mom of 4 young kids. Once I finally admitted I wanted to leave, he felt I broke my end of the deal
    And we ended up in divorce. If that wasnt hard enough, my mom told me she wanted him to have full custody of the kids because he was still a member. Because I left the church, I also lost my best friend who felt I was going down the wrong path. Now, 4 years later, my ex husband has left the church and is very happy with his girfriend. The church tore two good people apart, that ended up ruining the relationship with my mom and my best friend. My relationships are now deeper and stronger than they ever were as a member. Mormon stories podcast is a comfort to me, that I know I am not alone.

  133. Michael
    January 20, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I was raised with black and white thinking towards church and god. So in my late 30’s I didn’t have the tools to help me when I started questioning god. I looked for resources and found NONE from the church. I found some with Christian apologetics, but felt very alone in church. When I came across mormon stories and found out there were others like me it helped me tremendously. Then when I came across troubling church history I felt lied to and wanted to stop attending church.

    I was in a good marriage of 20 years and had 3 kids, and the first words out of my wife’s mouth was she would divorce me if I stopped attending church. I was confused and hurt. We didn’t talk about church issues for years, and I just did my best at pretending everything was fine. One day I told my child I didn’t believe in the devil and when my wife found out she hit the roof. She told the bishop, and she told her family and my family. Our marriage was very troubled. We went to a counselor for a year and that helped, but we still have one major issue in our marriage, and that issue is the church.

    I have become very angry at the church. I committed much of my life to this organization that now sees me as a parasite. A piece of scum on the bottom of the foot that should just be scraped off and discarded. After my wife outed me as an unbeliever, I was told I shouldn’t give blessings, I can’t home teach, I can’t teach primary or sunday school or give talks, all because of thoughts in my head. I did all of these things in the church for years as an unbeliever and nobody was the wiser. I was elders quorum president for years as an unbeliever.

    I worry about my children, I don’t want them to have the unnecessary problems in their marriage and life that I am having. The more I am treated like this the more I feel like the mormon church is a sick and twisted organization. Even though my wife and I are compatable in many ways and we love each other deeply, neather of us would marry each other if we had to do it again, simply because of the belief differences.

  134. ADH
    January 20, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I began researching the history of the church and would try to bring up what I had been finding with my husband. Though he is a scientist, he feared researching any of the information. He refused to talk about it.

    I tried to bring the issues up a few times and every time I was shot down with “anyone can lie on the internet”, “don’t believe everything you read”, or “you are scaring me”.

    We stopped communicating. I was left completely alone with no one to talk to during the most difficult and confusing time in my life. He is about 3 years behind me in his journey out of Mormonism now. Unfortunately during that time we grew so far apart, and there was so much emotional damage, we were unable to recover. We are divorcing. We had a good relationship until then.

  135. anon
    January 20, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    My husband and I are both RM’s. We both love the church. I have lost a lot of my faith in the restoration but it had nothing to do with Mormon Stories. It started in the Provo library when I was a gospel doctrine teacher in a BYU ward. I read several books but found mormon stories after googling “Richard Bushman.” Rough Stone Rolling completely forced me to change my lense. Mormon Stories has been a safe place for me to work through that lense change. I needed a place to let go of anger and release pain and I really believe that alone has saved my marriage and relationship with the church. I’ve found new ways to look at the church and communicate with my husband and others about my beliefs. My husband comes from a family who believes it’s better to die than to lose your testimony and he’s also in business with them. We will always be connected. Im pretty sure my sister in law is gay and I hope my continual attendance in church will give me power to help her. My husband has a high profile calling and while he won’t listen to Mormon stories, Listening to John and his guests has immensely helped me voice my concerns without being offensive or overly emotional. My husband isn’t trying to change me or shame me anymore. I am extremely grateful.

  136. E
    January 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I remember the night I decided to tell my husband my thoughts on the church and that I no longer believed in it’s truth claims. This completely devastated him. Did he bring up divorce over the next few months? Yes. Many times. I still wanted to work it out–I knew it was an option to have a part member family because I had one growing up. He did not. He had no idea how this was going to work exactly. If I was honest, I didn’t know either. I found it frustrating at times because I knew my husband wasn’t that far off from me in his beliefs. I knew he struggled with a lot of the same issues with the church that I did. However, I was able to let the church go, while he wasn’t. It wasn’t until I listened to John Dehlin’s “Why I Stay” that I understood where my husband was coming from. I cried when I listened it. It was such a relief. I was finally able to understand where my husband was coming from. By listening to the reasons why John stays, I was able to understand why my husband stays. I had my husband listen to John’s recording of “Why I Stay” the same night I first heard it. He cried while listening to it too because he related to John so much. It was a huge step in the right direction for us. I was finally able to forgive my husband for wanting to stay with a church that I felt was so damaging to me. I understood my husband for the first time. And for this, I will always be thankful for John Delhin’s effort to articulate his feelings for the church and broadcast them online.

  137. Patti Chaney
    January 20, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you John! I served as YW President (2.5 years) then Gospel Doctrine teacher (4 years) in my South Jordan, Utah ward. My marriage was bad from the beginning. My husband was very controlling. I later learned it was passive aggressive behavior on his part. I was 19 years old when we were married in the SLC temple. He was 23 and a Returned Missionary. Financial, emotional, and sexual disconnect were prevalent during our 24 year marriage. We have 4 children. To help ease the financial burden, I enrolled in Salt Lake Community College and soon began the Nursing Program. This was 1999. During the summer of 2001, after completing Spring Semester, I was on a summer hiatus and in-between jobs. I was on a truly innocent reading frenzy!!!! During my weekly visits to the South Jordan Library, I came across the book “Mormon America” which lead me to “Know Man Knows My History” by Fawn Brody. While reading Brody’s book, my epiphany came. I believe my brain connections changed. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Mormon church wasn’t true.

    I had a brother leave the church a year prior to my epiphany. All my husband could talk about was how evil my brother was. How Satan had lead him astray. And, …. what sins were so strong that my brother needed to commit that he could no longer stay in the church……. A year later, I believed that Joseph Smith was a fraud. Because of the way my husband talked about my brother, I knew that our marriage was over and that he could never see things from a different point-of-view. I now believe my husband, the father of our 4 children, never really loved me. I have since found true love. I was just a pawn he thought he could control. He underestimated the power of college education!!!!!!

    It’s been almost 14 years since my epiphany. I am happy, successful, and loved by my new husband, my children, and grandchildren. My escape from the Mormon church happened prior to the explosion of the internet.

    Thank you for all you do. I wished (for my children’s sake) that my marriage could have supported a change in belief. Touche to all the married couples/families that can weather a question in their beliefs.

    Patti

  138. Kaylynne H.
    January 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    I am currently in the process of divorcing my husband. We separated just 7 days ago, and (hopefully) by next Tuesday our divorce papers will be filed with the court.

    I’ve always struggled with the church – at least since I was 13 in YW. I began to think about the age of accountability and wondered if I had really wanted to get baptized or if I just did it because all the other kids my age were getting baptized and it meant my relatives would travel to see us and everyone would celebrate me and be happy with me.

    I went to church on and off throughout adolescence (mainly because my Dad was often inactive and I always made the argument “If dad doesn’t have to go, why do I have to?”).

    In college, I attended UVU but lived in BYU housing because my Mom thought BYU contracted housing would be safer. I attended church in order to make friends, and tried very hard to be a good Mormon. I dated RM boys, had multiple callings, etc etc. My second year of college, the roommate of an RM boy that I was trying to date, raped me (I should note, he was an RM as well). I went to the bishop, confessed, and was told (directly) to repent and (indirectly) that I was now chewed gum. My rapist maybe got a talking to, but otherwise didn’t face any other consequences. At this point, I REALLY began to doubt things but felt so guilty for “allowing” myself to be raped (bishop’s word choice), that I kept trying to be a good Mormon.

    When I started dating my now husband, I told him about what had happened and he said he still accepted me because he was sure I’d repented (he didn’t really seem to care that my rapist went unpunished or that I was blamed for it). I thought, “Yay! An RM who is willing to accept me even though I am chewed gum!” However, as things got more serious, I continued to feel less and less sure about the teachings of the church. We dated for a year (I repeatedly turned down marriage proposals from him because I didn’t feel ready to get married and I was still trying to get my degree – even though my bishop had pointed out to me that the prophet at one time said that it’s a mistake to put education first). We got engaged during my senior year and I insisted on a year long engagement.

    We spent a LOT of time doing scripture study together. I always got WAY further into the doctrine than he did. He took everything at face value, while I was always asking questions about everything, learning about the history, finding the context, etc. etc.

    It was during the year of our engagement that I had repeated emotional breakdowns. I didn’t feel ready for marriage, I didn’t feel comfortable getting married in the temple, I wasn’t even sure that I had a testimony. My husband always answered me with quotes from GAs and scripture versus about how marriage is the right thing to do, that we should get married in the temple, and he repeatedly told me, “I know you have a testimony and it will grow over time.” I asked him often “What if I never have a testimony?” “What if we never marry in the temple?” and each time he said he would love me anyways because he believe that it was right for us to get married. He prayed about it multiple times, he was 100% it was what God wanted us to do.

    We even had a stake president tell us to “just get married, even if it’s not in the temple.” So we decided to go ahead and have a civil marriage and our bishop married us. (Even on our wedding day, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to get married but decided to just resign myself to what was happening. I knew I felt love towards my husband and he had stayed by my side with all my emotional breakdowns and claimed to love me unconditionally. I figured we could make things work no matter what happened.

    Shortly after we got married, I stopped attending church entirely I couldn’t stand the sexism and hypocrisy. He went inactive and didn’t go to church either, didn’t hold callings, etc. Completely his choice, at no point did I ever tell him that he couldn’t practice his faith, I just wasn’t comfortable with a lot of aspects of the church. He told me that it was fine.

    Fast forward 2 years. I’ve decided to resign, he’s decided to double down.

    I’ve finally found a community of post mormons with whom I can discuss things (because any time I bring up ANY religious discussion with my husband, we just fight). The more I learn, the better I feel about leaving the church. Every now and then, I bring up something that was discussed in the NOM or PostMo forums that I’ve been in. We fight every time.

    So at this point (beginning of December), I’ve decided to officially leave the church, so I’m definitely not getting sealed to him in the temple and I can’t have children due to infertility issues (but even if I could have kids, I wouldn’t want to raise them in the church because of the many damaging teachings – I couldn’t feel like a good mother by letting them be indoctrinated by that stuff) — Suddenly, my husband decides he wants to be sealed in the temple and he wants to raise his children in the church (after all, these are in his Patriarchal blessing and he’s certain that they are meant to happen in this life). He tells me that he feels like I’m leading him down the path of unrighteousness. He asks me why I hate the church and why I don’t let him go (again, I’ve never told him he couldn’t). Basically, he blames his inactivity on me.

    We wound up spending Christmas apart. While he’s away, I decide to try and be as good of a wife I can because I can tell our relationship is really strained. So I clean up the house, get a bunch of meals made up for the coming week when he returns, leave love notes around the house, make an extra effort on my appearance, and fill myself with determination not to criticize or nag him in any way.

    He returns and we’re good for like a week.

    One night he says, “I’ve been praying and, I feel like Heavenly Father has given me an answer. We need to separate. This is what Heavenly Father told me to do, I want you to trust me.” The next morning, he’s taken his suitcases and he’s gone.

    4 days later, I get a long email about how he doesn’t think we can be together because we’re not compatible, he talks all about how he needs to be a good priesthood holder, and he’s always hoped that I would go back to church and we would be blessed with kids, etc. etc. He won’t compromise on his religious beliefs.

    I offer to force myself to attend church and try to be okay with different aspects of the church that are so problematic for me. And as far as kids go, we just won’t have them (we would have to adopt anyway).

    He says he doesn’t want to make me compromise my beliefs and he wants a wife who will be sealed to him.

    We really have no choice at this point but to divorce because he believes that he’s doing what God told him to do.
    He won’t compromise and won’t let me compromise.

    I love him, and I trusted that he would always love me no matter what (because that’s what he had always told me), but he outright told me that his religion is more important to him than I am.

    So that’s my story. I’m getting divorced at the age of 23 because my husband has chosen a religion (which claims to value families), over me.

  139. Dave Anon
    January 20, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Before we married, I started reading church history in the 90’s. I was very open with my now wife about my questions and concerns with church history. I thought that if I read more and understood more, it would all make sense in the end, because I knew the brethren would never intentionally mislead the members! So I married a nice girl from BYU, with the faith that I could figure these issues out. So with good faith, I devoured all the church history I could get my hands on, however, the more layers of the onion that I removed, the more stinky that onion became!

    My wife refuses to really read or listen to these issues with the LDS church. For her, the church is true, it is her culture, why would she spend her time learning about things that might destroy it? Especially from apostate authors!?

    The biggest problem now is that I am open and honest about my issues with Mormonism. As a result, the children are sympathetic to my opinions and so I’m seen as a negative influence on my children and the family unit. Her view is supported by her mother and friends in the ward. I would like to believe again, but it is impossible to put that “toothpaste back into the tube”.

    She wants a divorce over this issue. I spoke with an attorney and she said that she will probably get the kids, the house, the nicest car and I will have barely enough money left over each month to live in a cheap apartment by myself. Perhaps I’m being selfish, but this seems very unfair to me. I feel like a yoked beast of burden who’s value is to provide a check each month and then see my kids 4 days a month, if I’m lucky.

    There is no abuse. No drugs, alcohol, porn, etc. There is no bad behavior that would violate a marital contract, other than the more probable church history makes orthodox belief in this organization impossible or me.

    For me to be forcibly removed from my family, and my family dissolved over religious non-belief, is wickedness. Just horrible!

  140. Helen Sweany
    January 20, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I’d been in a 27 year marriage as a SAHM that resulted horribly for me. The most traumatic was Feb – June 2013 I was living on -0-. Since we were still ‘married’ and he controlled ALL our money (and made approx $95K a year and $65K from our apartments)I didn’t qualify for assistance, not with him making so much. Is this financial abuse? From June – September I was homeless. That meant I lived in an abandoned, foreclosed house in the desert (I had permission from owner) that had no electricity, no water, no WINDOWS and had to be quiet about it for my own safety. He got to go to our daughters’ temple wedding WITH HIS MISTRESS while we were not yet divorced while I waited outside babysitting kids and a dog. With hindsight I see how I was set up for years for the divorce, and though I was extremely active playing piano/organ/primary/RS when I found my 30 years as a mormon were lies, I also lost any kind of empathy to what was most of my adult years among mormons. I’ve spent many a day online with Mormon Stories in a Starbucks when I wanted a distraction from legal stuff, and the social media at times was the only friends I had. — Doing much better now, have my own apartment and have some of the nicest neighbors.

  141. Greg
    January 21, 2015 at 12:36 am

    My story has not yet come to a conclusion. I don’t know how it will end.

    I got married 16 months after returning from my mission. I was 22. By the time I was 25, I began to become more aware of the unresolvable cognitive dissonance I was feeling about the church, its truth claims, and its history. Both my wife and I were life long mormons, coming from “pioneer stock” but our shared heritage and upbringing in the church actually ended up driving a schism in our marriage much more than it helped bind us together.

    As I struggled to come to grips with my questions and doubts, I was left utterly and completely alone. My wife refused to even acknowledge any of my feelings. To me, the truth shouldn’t fear investigation. For my wife, just asking questions challenged the very foundations of her eternal destiny and as she was taught, she wouldn’t compromise that destiny for any reason.

    I wish I could say that i had extended discussions with her or even that we argued about the church. That would indicate that we were at least trying to communicate but that was not the case. My feelings were simply ignored and rejected as not being valid.

    Looking back on it now, it is very probable that those years will turn out to be the most distraught, depressed, and devastating of my life. My faith and entire world view were crashing down around me. And I didn’t have a single person there to help me through it. Not a single person. My family and friends were all close to the church. Worst of all, my best friend—my wife– emotionally abandoned me.

    Compounding the loneliness I felt was the fact that, despite my increasing disillusion with the church, I still fell back on so many of the paradigms it had taught me. I had been taught in the church that I was the broken part of the relationship. I deserved that kind of treatment. According to the church, I had a sickness and my wife was only protecting herself from the disease.

    I am still with my wife. We have a child together. She is still active in the church and will push to raise our son in it. I love her and I love our child and I can’t imagine being with anybody else besides them. But I don’t know how any of it will work out long term.

    I’ve come to grips with the church. My relationship with my wife is much stronger and I feel respected and valued. Primarily, this is because my wife has also begun to reject the traditional narratives and paradigms of the “TBM” perspective. Imagine that, our marriage has gotten stronger as we have rejected the church’s authority to dictate the parameters of our relationship.

    But there will always be part of me that is so sad that the one time in my life when I really needed help, when i needed someone to listen to me, the one time I needed somebody to try to understand me and just accept me and validate me—nobody was there. I was utterly alone.

  142. Kyle
    January 21, 2015 at 2:03 am

    In 2010 I married my best friend. We met in high school in 2003, and became good friends when I returned from my mission in 2005. In 2008 she left on her mission and we promised each other that we would write at least once a month. It was far more often than that, and while she was away I fell in love with her through our letters. We began dating almost immediately when she returned home and we were married 5 months later.

    At some point in 2011 I began to struggle with my faith in god and in the church. I kept these struggles concealed from my wife as best I could, fearing that if she knew my faith was wavering she would leave me. It was more than a year later that I finally made up my mind that I didn’t believe in the church and I didn’t believe in god either. Rather than feel like I had had a burden lifted from my shoulders, I panicked. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I loved my wife more than anything, and I knew that she loved the church more than anything, including me. My marriage was going to end if she knew the truth.

    I got depressed, and she noticed. Our marriage and our relationship suffered. Not to say that our marriage had been a cakewalk up to that point; we had our challenges the same as everyone, but I was generally satisfied, and to my knowledge she was as well. Any areas in which we weren’t satisfied we communicated about regularly and we were trying to work on them. After a few months like this, and in the heat of an intense discussion about moving to another state, I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to level with her.

    She felt that god had told her we needed to stay where we were, and I felt we needed to move to another state where I was about to be offered a much better job than I had. Staying didn’t make any sense for us, an assertion to which she agreed, but she was adamant that we stay. I told her I didn’t believe in god, and that her rationale for not moving was difficult for me to accept.

    My declaration was met with an alarming silence, and I was fearful that I had just destroyed my marriage. After a few days of not speaking much she asked me if I really didn’t believe in god. I told her that I didn’t, and though it broke my heart to have to tell her that, it was also relieving to be able to be honest with her and with myself. I told her I loved her more than anything, and that I was confident our marriage could not only survive but thrive in a way that it hadn’t for a long time. She said she loved me too and that was the end of the conversation.

    A few days later–one week to the day since I told her I didn’t believe in god–I woke up to find her sitting up in bed crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she replied that she wanted a divorce and that she was leaving.

    That was it. There was no talking her out of it. We filed papers with the court that same morning and she moved out that afternoon. Our marriage was over. My worst fears had been realized. My wife left me because I had a faith crisis. Her loyalties were with the church, and not me. Realizing and accepting that was the most painful experience of my life. It’s hard not to feel like my entire marriage was a farce, and that our friendship was a sham, contingent upon me being a faithful, believing member of the Mormon church.

    This March will mark two years since my wife left me. I have since made my way out of the church completely, and I haven’t looked back. More importantly, I’ve moved on from the loss of my marriage. We fortunately did not have children, and we were able to make a clean break from each other. We haven’t spoken since. Still, I look back on those years we spent together, and the years we spent as friends, and I mourn the loss of the relationship we had. She’s a lovely, wonderful person whom I could talk to about anything. Anything, it seems, except losing my faith god.

  143. Anniken Rose
    January 21, 2015 at 4:02 am

    I just want to add our small story to this list. My husband and I are currently doing well, but my faith crisis is cause for the first time divorce has EVER entered our conversation. He is now considering other perspectives and we are both able to support each other but he is often racked with fear because his parent’s got divorced when he was in about 4th grade BECAUSE of his mother wanting to leave the LDS church (she had been a member for about 15 years). My husband gets anxious that we will end up like them which is the last thing he wants for our two beautiful children. Also, when I asked our Bishop if we could possibly get counseling through LDS family services he acted like we did not need it as we aren’t having “hard” marita

  144. Jeff
    January 21, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I realized I didn’t believe more than 10 years ago. Once the realization was made that the foundation of belief was non-existent, it was impossible to put the genie back in the bottle for me. When I first explained my reasons to my wife, I could see there was an impenetrable wall built up to prevent any adverse information from affecting her church attendance even though (thank goodness) it all appears to be only outward compliance and not a fervent belief. If it had been otherwise it clearly would have ended in divorce. I appreciate the church essays validating some of the serious issues in Mormonism, which were not generally accepted by the membership before the essays came out. However, it still breaks my heart to hear opinions from believing members of the family that we should have never had kids together or suggest that we should have gotten divorced rather than continue in a mixed marriage. Unfortunately, sometimes I agree when I see how the church pulls on the kids and continually makes non-believing parents out to be villains who are unworthy to participate in ordinances if they don’t comply and may become objects of pity and derision as the children make decisions about seminary, mission, and marriage. I have tried to go with the opinion that the church is a nice make-believe world view that teaches good values and may scare teenagers into abstinence (sex and drugs) until they are old enough to make better decisions on their own. However, I can see that it isn’t enough for the church to try to instill good values and judgment, it must continually assert that it is the only way back to heaven, that outsiders are lesser people who may have some of the truth, that non-believers are deceived by Satan, etc, etc. This church can’t be helpful to a family unless ALL of its members are completely on board (not saying that is healthy either), otherwise it is just undermining the family structure and creating resentment amongst family members. It causes the believing members to believe that the non-believing members are not invested in the eternal family if they don’t fully participate in the church and it causes the non-believing members to feel like the church has created a power struggle for the hearts and minds of the children/spouse. Maybe this is endemic to all religions, but the lay structure doing the rites, exclusive wedding ceremonies, and cultish teachings (exclusive authority, church to be government/kingdom at second coming and preparing to do so), seem to be more harmful than any good teaching that may be instilled in children. Moreover, I find teachings more about memorizing names of all of the prophets and articles of faith rather than teaching good values. These constant irritations have made it very difficult to be neutral about what the church is doing to my family. One can always hope for reform, but it seems clear that there will not be any relief in the near future.

  145. Tunflog
    January 21, 2015 at 8:43 am

    My wife and I have only been married for about 5 and a half years and are just beginning to enter into disagreements concerning the church. I lost my faith about a year ago after many hours of careful research and prayer. The things I learned through my studies permanently tainted the way I see the church and its leaders. My wife still clings to the church, and I’m guessing she always will. She is the love of my life and I feel as if we are totally in sync with each other except for this one single issue.

    We have adopted a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of policy in our home. This policy was only created after the large amount of friction and tension that was created between us. Basically, anything church related is avoided in normal conversation. She knows I don’t want to be lectured on what she believes and I return that same kindness to her. To keep the peace I still attend church and hold a calling. I wear garments and obey the word of wisdom. However, I do not believe in paying a full tithe and for that reason do not maintain a current temple recommend.

    My wife’s parents left the church when she was fairly young and somehow she was still able to maintain her faith. I can only imagine what a struggle it was to stay in the church without the support of parents and siblings. She has worked hard her whole life to preserve her testimony and I will not be the thing to tear it all down because of what I have come to believe.

    Our relationship is solid. We have had a few open talks about what I believe and she has accepted it, albeit grudgingly. We are expecting our first child and I’m sure more issues will crop up as we start our family together. I know we can handle anything that comes at us. If both partners can compromise and understand each other, almost anything can be accomplished.

  146. TM
    January 21, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Mormon Stories literally saved my marriage.

    Five years into my perfect Mormon marriage we moved across town into a new ward, and my husband, who had been serving the Sunday School President in our old ward, declared he would be taking a month hiatus from church attendance and activities…he just needed a little break. My husband had never been a fanatic about Mormonism, but then again, neither had I. We were both just your average, church-going, calling-holding, card-carrying members. I knew he had had some really bad experiences on his mission, and over the first few years of our marriage I learned that he really hated attending the temple, church, and any meetings, and we argued frequently about his devotion to those things. Now, I didn’t particularly enjoy any of those things either, but as a Mormon, it’s just your duty to do your part…right!? Deep down, I knew he was a believer at heart and would be loyal to the church forever, as would I.

    When his month hiatus came and went, and he never came back to church, the arguments about religion increased in frequency and intensity. I was NOT about to let him get away with just being lazy about religion. I vividly remember telling him vehemently in a conversation while driving through Logan Canyon that I signed up for marriage with a Mormon and he was going to STAY Mormon! He couldn’t just change his mind about this! That wasn’t fair to me! HE would have to change his attitude and feelings! Well, guess what? He didn’t…

    Eight months of bickering about religion later, I finally realized that my husband was not going to come around, and that he really wanted nothing to do with the church and wouldn’t be coming back, my very first thought was, “Do I have to divorce him now!?” But even thinking that felt absurd!? If we took religion completely out of the picture, we had the PERFECT relationship and marriage. We were best friends, we got along, we had fun together, we had great conversations, we had a beautiful child who we both adored and another on the way. Life was good! The only issue we had was religion. Yet, having been raised as a true blue Mormon my entire life, divorce was what I thought I was obligated to do now…without a faithful Mormon husband, nothing else mattered right!? Oh, so wrong!! I certainly didn’t want to leave my husband…he was a fantastic man and I loved him so much! But I simply had no idea what to do in the situation I was suddenly faced with. Enter: Mormon Stories.

    Thankfully, one of my husband’s good friends put a bug in my ear about Mormon Stories, saying that I’d like the podcasts and it’d probably be helpful to my situation. I checked it out and one of the first podcasts I listened to was the interview with Jacque (123-125), and her experience with her husband leaving the church. It opened my eyes and blew my mind! Her story and perspective helped me to completely change my perspective and attitude on our situation. From that interview on, my husband’s lack of the Mormon religion was no longer an issue…at all. I chose to love him, with no strings attached, no matter what…just as Christ would. And it has made ALL the difference.

    I stayed active in the church for two more years, and continued listening to the fascinating stories put out by Mormon stories, with my favorites being about LGBT issues, women’s rights, and mixed-faith families. However, over the last year I’ve realized that with my passion for LGBT and women’s rights issues, there’s not much room for me in Mormonism anymore, and I’ve been transitioning out myself. But that’s another story entirely.

    Thank you Mormon Stories, and Jacque’s story in particular, for saving my marriage three short years ago.

  147. Moose
    January 21, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Nothing has hurt me more than the affect of being split faith has had on my marriage. I married the girl of my dreams almost 15 years ago. We had dated and been engaged for 2 and a half years before being married in the SLC temple. It was another 5 years before we started to have children. We didn’t rush into things. We got to know each other. We are/were best friends. Fast forward to about 4 years ago. We have a little boy and girl, and after reading the illustrated scriptures to them one night, there were things that struck me as odd in the children’s version that didn’t make sense to how I knew the scriptures read. I had never read the book of M all the way through in my 33 years of being raised a member of the church. I decided to be a better father I needed to do this. I had full confidence it would strengthen my testimony. A year and a half later one tearful night I had built up the courage to tell my wife I no longer believed. That day she was amazing. She answered “I just love you.” She started to read books and other information to understand why I left. A year later she stopped attending. She had told me that while visiting teaching her companion had told the lady they were visiting who’s husband had also left the church that no one would blame her if she left her husband for his disbelief. It upset my wife, and she felt the comment was also direct at her because of me. After a year she had a bad bout of depression and returned to church. After she went back, we began to argue, and she blamed me for her leaving the church. I still felt we had a great relationship other than the church. She agreed. However, it wasn’t enough. July 2, 2014, I came home from work to find she had packed her things and the kids and left and went to her mothers to live. She waited for me to get home, with the kids gone, to break the news. She said she still loved me, and that I was her best friend, but that she couldn’t have everything she wanted in the church with me no longer believing. It took months of work, and we’ve been to several counselors. We are back together, but still certainly working on things. I don’t want to lose my family. How can two people who love each other, who see each other as good spouses and parents break up a family over this one difference. I can’t help but think had we been in a less strict religion this wouldn’t have happened. She has admitted that others suggested she should leave me. I’m certain her family has encouraged it to some degree. All because of my not believing. It has broken my heart. Shattered my confidence. And caused me more pain than I can explain. First I lost the church. Then I nearly lost my family because of the church. I’m still not sure we’ll make it. When she first left, I tried several nights to end myself. It hurt more than I could ever have imagined. I hope we can heal things still. I hope we make it through this. I hope we do. I love her more than anything, and my kids as well. Nothing means more to me than my family. I mostly feel I’m over any anger towards the church from my own loss of faith in it. However, if my family breaks and the church is the reason, how will I not be angry again. I don’t know. Currently, I’m an atheist who attends sacrament meeting to support her in her belief. I feel hostage to the church for the sake of my family. Some would say leave. But I don’t want to lose my best friend as my companion. Even with what’s happened. No one makes me happier.

  148. Bobby
    January 21, 2015 at 10:47 am

    In July of 2013, I read Hans Mattson’s profile article in The New York Times. Prior to this, I had purposely steered clear of researching any information that could have been considered questionable concerning the LDS church. My wife, in particular, had asked me not to do any research, considering both her brothers had done so and left the church.

    I considered Hans to be a prominent enough authority figure to start taking these issues seriously. I had never heard of any translation issues with the Book of Abraham or of Joseph Smith’s polygamy/polyandry, despite having been in my late 30s and a lifelong, born-in-the-covenant, return missionary. I decided that I must learn the truth, no matter how difficult.

    During an in-depth research period conducted over the course of several weeks, I discovered the Mormon Stories podcasts, among other sources of information. I was quickly disillusioned with the LDS church’s truth claims, and shortly thereafter, I told my wife.

    The situation was devastating for her, but I was able to point her toward a Mormon Stories podcast featuring a woman who remained a believer in the LDS church, but whose husband had researched church history and found the church to be false. This particular podcast was instrumental in helping my wife cope with the immediate situation.

    I have personally benefited from many Mormon Stories podcasts since this time, but this particular podcast helped my still-believing wife understand and come to terms with our situation at a time that was critical to our relationship and marriage.

  149. utah county dad
    January 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Sorry its a bit long.. My wife of nearly forty years divorced me at age 62. Nothing harder than seeing the goal post moved at the end of the game.
    Instead of me telling the story I’ll you read in her own words as she wrote a letter to the Ensign Magazine about her expectation.
    My dear wife sat me down and asked me what my biggest concerns were with the Church and I gave her only three.
    *Polygamy and under age brides and polyandry and 37 wives.
    *The head in the hat-seer stone translation.. I read it to her from the actual July 1993 Ensign I had saved for twenty years.
    *From my volumes of ‘History of the Church’ I read her John Taylor’s account of Joesph Smith killing two men in Carthage Jail.
    ( funny how the new essay’s cover most of that.

    In a very short time I was served divorce papers and sadly divorced after 39 years of Marriage and a 45 year relationship.

    ———–

    To: Editor
    Subject:My Marriage

    Ensign@ldschurch.org
    Questions and Answers

    As a brand new bride, I had dreams of how my life with this wonderful man would be. I had waited patiently for him as he served a two year mission. . I saved my money, majored in Early Childhood Development, took marriage classes at BYU, served in my BYU ward and had come to obtain a very close relationship with the Savior. I was looking forward to a temple marriage and a happily ever after life with my righteous prince.
    We were married one year after he returned from his mission. The first Sunday after we returned from our Honeymoon, I got up and dressed for Church. I was surprised when he said he was just to tired to go today, but for me to “go ahead” and he would come next week.
    We got along great and our lives were so happy, except each Sunday. I went to church alone. He seemed to think the ward members were too old and he wasn’t comfortable yet. I started to teach Primary and loved it. Soon I was teaching Young Women and loved it.
    I didn’t ever think that this was a permanent situation. He had never said that he intended to NEVER be active again. I just thought I would give him space and he would come around. After’ all, he was a returned missionary!
    Now looking back on 35 years of marriage, there are many bright spots. I have wonderful sons who served missions and are the light of my life. I am still in love with my husband and still hoping for the day that he will advance in the priesthood, pay a full tithing, attend his meetings, hold a temple recommend and be a true stalwart servant of the Lord.
    The best thing I ever did, was not wait for him to be active. I went ahead and got my own temple recommend and attend the temple regularly, and I go to my meetings anyway I serve in callings anyway. I paid my tithing anyway. There was a time when I was nervous about us being divided over the church and the different direction it would take us. I thought it might be a wedge. So I was considering waiting for him. I was thinking I would go other places with him on Sunday. For a while he thought I chose the church over him. I am so grateful that I chose to live the life I had imagined when I got married, that of full activity, full tithe paying, full temple worthiness, full service in callings.
    This was not a lifestyle declared by him one day saying I am not going to be active. This was a week by week avoidance and non commitment that would last a lifetime.
    I love the Lord with all my heart and I am grateful for each and every experience He has allowed me to have, both good and bad. Gratitude and Hope still seem to be the things that get me through till next Sunday.
    _______________________

    My summary..

    The last Sunday I ever went to Church I got this on my pillow as I dressed for Church.
    “Come to Church today and worship Jesus Christ and partake of his holy sacrament, not because of me”… July 29/2012”
    ———-
    To summarize

    I was a good dad who named,blessed , baptized his children,was a Ward financial Clerk under two Bishops. I was in the elders quorum presidency. I was the best webelos, cub, scout leader for years.. I took my wife’s father to Church the last six years of his life.
    FYI I didn’t drink, smoke or cheat.. I was a loyal husband.

    So in the end… the unattainable expectation of the Mormonsim became our wedge. In the end I was not worthy of my wife’s conditional love or Jesus Christ’s unconditional Love in her eyes.

    Thanks for reading.
    From a typical dad in Utah County

    • Douglas Satterfield
      January 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Wow, your story is so very close to mine. I think we may have met but have not continued a contact with each other. My story is on here too and I am now a Utah county single divorced man who is ex -Mormon also. Divorced at age 62 from a 39 year marriage, just like you. Best to you.

      Douglas Satterfield

  150. Katie
    January 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I never thought I’d be in the situation I am now in. Growing up in the LDS Church (and specifically in the Young Women’s program) you are taught that if you live a righteous life and marry a returned missionary in the Temple that you will live happily ever after. The idea that my husband would leave the beliefs we shared never even entered my mind. Not even once. On Christmas Eve 2012 I found myself filled with the anxiety that my world was crashing down. My husband had some serious doubts about the church. Over the next year we kept my husband’s struggles a secret. Only the bishop knew of his doubts. We suffered in silence for an entire year. My once happy and optimistic husband suffered from severe anxiety and depression. I had no one to help me because the idea of discussing this would be too taboo or make my husband look bad. The church offered no help or resources in our situation. I tried to faithfully attend church by myself with our small child. I remember almost fainting in church one Sunday because it was so hard. The one glimmer of hope was listening to Mormon Stories Podcasts. There were stories of women who had their husband leave the church and they were making it work. I’m a practical person so I needed to hear how they made it work on a day to day level. Because of the lack of support from the church, I now face a crisis of faith. When will the church see that people in my situation need real help. We are hurting.

  151. JF
    January 21, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I was fairly slow in my faith crisis. I’d tell my wife everything I was struggling with and she was very understanding. But once I came to her with the fact that I no longer believe in a prophet she became concerned. That led to me bottling up my true beliefs that I no longer believed there was a god. Eventually we started having conversations about it and she quickly mentioned that this is kind of a deal breaker. That threw me into a mental breakdown. I spent days writing letters to my 2 year old son about everything life might throw at him. I compiled a huge amount of letters and put them all in envelopes so I could give them to him someday. I couldn’t bare the thought of not spending 100% of my time with him.

    After that week of pure misery my wife and I came to understand each other more. We still have moments where it just doesn’t feel like we can push through this but they are less frequent with each debate and we are better people for it. If anything this has brought us closer.

  152. January 21, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    My story is kind of long for a comment, but yes faith crisis did cause significant distress in my marriage (We were seriously contemplating divorce) and Mormon Stories podcast was a significant factor that helped us stay together. Here’s a blog post that I wrote about it http://secretsofmom.com/?p=1668 Long story short, we researched church history together, we stayed together and our marriage is better than ever.

  153. January 21, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    John, I believe what you are a credit to the spirit of the true church and the teachings of Jesus. What you are confronting is what I would call spiritual warfare and the only effective defense is enlightenment. You are lighting the way for others facing this offensive. I hope you know the principles of the martial art called Aikido.

    I think my faith crisis began with a dream on Joseph Smith’s birth date in 1964. I say “I think” because I was clearly not conscious of what was coming from within myself OR how that would affect my ‘real world’. In the ‘real world’ I was at the top of my career as new PhD research scientist at a world class scientific laboratory, happily married with five children, fully active in the church and actively pursuing a new research position at a prestigious eastern university.

    On the morning of December 23, 1964, having weeks earlier accepted the university offer, I dreamed “I am a beautiful woman with a bad reputation, always being taken advantage of. I am running away from jealous wives and angry husbands who are trying to find me. Dressed in Levis and t-shirt I hide under a house as they pass by. The scene changes to inside the Los Angeles Temple. I am still that woman (BTW that was the only time I had ever dreamed of being a woman!), dressed as before and at my locker to get my things. In the distance I see church educational administrators who look wholesome. They do not notice me. Standing next to me at her locker is a woman who seems to know me and my situation. She says to me: “No one will be there to defend you when it comes your turn to stand.”

    It took decades before I began to comprehend the implications of that surprising and puzzling dream. During those decades my life changed dramatically, beginning with a powerful confrontation with the local bishop, then the stake president and finally a first excommunication in absentia. Without going into the details, I lost marriage, family, friends, career, financial resources… In other words I lost everything I once held dear except my deep relationship with God, who obviously had new things for me to learn by experience.

    Ten years after the summer 1965 event that triggered the first excommunication, I returned to the church to find out what had gone wrong and what I needed to do about it. Since I obviously was a slow study in such ecclesiastical matters, it took 17 more years to learn enough to stand in my own defense when facing a second excommunication rather than recant my 1965 experiences that had set up the first excommunication and my refusal to sustain the General Authorities by raising my singular hand in a stake conference of 5.000+ members.

    During the second DC I was heartened to experience the support by new, courageous and enlightened Mormon friends. The second excommunication in June 1992 was liberating and empowering as I soon realized I was a member of the true church of Jesus independent of the claims of the LDS ecclesiastical establishment. The days and years since that second event continue to be exciting, challenging and meaningful.

    I’m confident, John, that whatever happens to you in Logan on the 27th, you will find new liberation and meaning and your assailants will not prosper.

  154. Emirez
    January 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    To echo the events of many others, my faith crisis started when I was bent on getting 2 of my best childhood friends to come back to church. When they stopped going to church, for various reasons, my initial reaction was to pull away and protect myself from them. Upon further thought, I realized this was a pretty stupid way to react to them and decided that I’d open my ears to them instead. After all, the truth would prevail, and maybe I’d be helpful to them in finding it.

    I stumbled upon John’s youtube video from 2005 about why people leave the Mormon Church. I had heard some of the items, and some were new to me, but the concept rang true that there were difficult issues that could legitimately cause testimonies to be shaken. I decided to study more and more. As many can attest, that can be dangerous to literal belief.

    Before any of my doubts came to surface, I tried involving my very devout wife. She immediately resisted, almost violently, and demanded that I stop. Of course, I couldn’t stop. The rabbit hole is deep, but I followed it down. John’s podcast became a haven where I could hear stories from faithful historians, secular experts, and other thoughtful people. It certainly prolonged the journey, which has ultimately resulted in a loss of literal belief.

    I wrote an email to one of these friends who left the church and confided in him my doubts. Hours later, my wife, having suspected something, had been regularly monitoring my email and found this message. She forwarded the message to both of my parents and my brother. She called my in tears telling me I need to seek help. Crying herself to sleep that night, she told me she would have rather one of our children die than I lose my faith.

    This roller-coaster has continued for 4 years now. While the downs have leveled out some, tension still remains. The church offered literally no avenue for open discussions. I met with the stake president, who was simply convinced that I was deceiving myself and that I knew I was deceiving myself. We have visited 4 different marriage counselors on a semi-regular basis, with this issue being the sole reason. My wife does not understand the meaning of compromise on this topic and has only relented to certain concessions and requirements (church attendance, tithing, etc…) once she knew that our marriage was hanging by a thread. Unfortunately, her very believing family was no safe place for her. Fortunately for me, she eventually decided that divorce was not what she wanted, but that didn’t stop her sister and mother from recommending it.

    Mormon Stories has been a major help in maintaining sanity and has provided me with many tools and ideas that have been helpful in keeping the ship (not Ballard’s) of our marriage afloat. While we are certainly not living happily ever after, at least not yet, our situation has improved.

    Life will go on. The role of the church will hopefully continue to diminish. I currently attend the UU church in my neighborhood and find it refreshing to be truly accepted, regardless of dogmatic belief.

    Thanks John!

  155. Les
    January 22, 2015 at 12:28 am

    First, thank You John for your work. You have improved my patience with the church, and calmed my approach to coping with difficult issues. Sincerely, thanks!

    I had my faith crisis a couple of years after i was married (1990s), and my marriage has suffered ever since. That was more than 25 years ago. I shared my realization with my wife (strong-willed TBM) but otherwise kept it to myself because we have children and i concluded that a stable home environment was important, while a childhood of chaos with parents at war would have terrible consequences on their lives. My wife has made it clear that she would fight tooth and nail over raising the children in faith. And frankly I realized that I had little chance of turning my children against a Leviathan church with all of its hooks and conspirators, an organization that takes advantage of the natural credulity of children.

    So we exist in that space on the spectrum where our relationship is 75-85% great. That last bit will always be lacking while i can’t hold meaningful callings due to my unbelief. (They do allow me to clean the building though. doh!) When the happiness slides as low as 65% it’s almost always somehow related to the church. From there, it’s hard but necessary (and worth it) to make peace and push back up the spectrum. But my wife’s personality is a common one – she has no interest in discussing what I’ve learned. And I can’t unlearn what I know.

    Similar to other commenters, my wife laments that she didn’t sign on for a mixed-faith marriage. And from my side, it’s sad that my relationship with my wife isn’t one where we grow together. The church would be happy if we stayed ignorant together. I know that’s condescending. That’s why I mostly keep quiet.

    So here I am, my son is thinking of a mission, and I gladly go to church to be present with the family. But I always bring reading material (e.g., hitchens, grayling, rushdie, dawkins, harris, orwell) to help counter the bad logic from the pulpit or boredom from repetition. It’s funny how often it happens that a literary moral lesson is being narrated by the book I’m reading while it plays out in front of me. For example I was reading “Brave New World” (Huxley) while sitting through a testimony meeting where every single child and adult repeats, “I know the church is true.” ; …as I read: “One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years, thought Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopaedia. Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!” I wish we could discuss these books in church.

    To the Mormon church I say: Please stop lying to my children. And stop lying to the adults too. We all can handle the truth; all of it. Do this and you will increase happiness the world over — my marriage and family to be sure.

    And while I’m at it, please get out of politics. I support SSM. My whole family does too. On this we are united. Same-Sex Marriage is a fair and just public policy. You would do well to remember that religion is PERSONAL POLICY. Personal policy can be based on any crazy thing (religious belief) you like. But PUBLIC policy must be defensible on logic and rights. If the Mormon Church does not believe in the Constitution, then please leave law making to people who do.

    Les (and again, THANK YOU JOHN DEHLIN for your dedication to these important issues.)

  156. Ryan T
    January 22, 2015 at 2:52 am

    I was the perfect Mormon. I never drank or smoked in my life. I never engaged in premarital sex. After serving a two year mission I served faithfully in my singles ward in the Elders Quorum Presidency several times and was the Executive Secretary, ward mission leader, etc. Then I found the love of my life. We dated for a couple years and got engaged. We attended institute classes together and never missed a ward activity. Perfect Mormons. Then I discovered things about the Church, quite by accident, that rocked my testimony to the core. The more research I did on the subject the more troubling things I discovered. I just want to mention also that I was very careful not to read any anti Mormon literature. I still wanted the Church to be true but I also had to know the truth. As many of you know a faith crisis is a very hard thing to deal with and I struggled with what I should do once my “shelf” finally broke. I decided to talk with my family first (parents and siblings). Maybe they could straighten me out, or perhaps they had the same doubts that I had. Despite what some people think people like me don’t leave the church because we want to. There’s nothing I wanted more than for the church to be true. After talking with my family I felt relieved that at least they knew where I stood even if they didn’t have the same doubts about the Church that I had. I was scared to tell my fiance though as I didn’t know what it would do to our relationship. We had talked about doubts we’d had about the church in the past so I was hopeful that she’d understand when I told her I longer believed the Church was true. She was surprised. She didn’t understand but was also determined to stay together. I think she thought she could fix me and that my doubts were only temporary. From that moment on though our relationship changed. It’s obvious to me now that she was trying to sabotage our relationship to justify breaking up with me, and finally one day she did. I was shocked. We were so in love. We were getting married. The only thing that had changed about me was my belief in the Church.

    She insisted it wasn’t because of my faith crisis, but the reasons she gave didn’t make sense. Several years later she finally admitted to me that she did break up with me over my faith crisis. She also told me that she would have gotten back with me if I had simply come back to church. Even then she jokingly said, “why can’t you just be Mormon! Then we could finally get married!” But it wasn’t just a joke. Her family are what I call “cult Mormons”. She had to choose between me and her family and she chose her family.

    After our breakup I was completely devastated. Super depressed. Not only had my entire world been turned upside down by learning that the church I had so faithfully served my entire life was a sham, but I had lost the love of my life simply because I could not live a lie. I had no one to turn to. All my family and all my friends were still true believing Mormons. I was totally alone.

    Luckily I found Mormon Stories. Specifically I found the Top 5 Myths and Truths about why Committed Mormons Leave the Church on YouTube. This video was such a help to me at that time. I felt justified/vindicated. I finally felt at peace. It also made me realized that I was not the first person to leave the church. Mormon Stories helped me transition. I guess you could say it put me back together after I had been shattered.

    Thanks John! I owe you big time!

  157. Norwichgirl
    January 22, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Even when marital partners are both sincere believers and active in the church, there can be division in a marriage. My former husband, an extrovert, and I, an introvert, had different values concerning church activity. He was extremely zealous and spent inordinate amounts of time and energy “serving the Lord,” as he put it. He neglected the emotional and spiritual needs of me and our children so much that ward members were cautioning him. I was at times very busy in the church, also, because I felt pressured to “be like him.” I thought that is what was expected of me, to “sacrifice” for the church. From time to time, I couldn’t keep up the pace and would have to be released and take a break, which would greatly disappoint my husband. Eventually I began to suffer from depression and felt I was near emotional collapse. My entreaties to him fell on deaf ears. The things that happened as a result were extremely heartbreaking to myself and my children. Decades have passed, and my children and I still suffer in some ways to this day. Meanwhile, my ex-husband has continued on in the Church as if nothing were his fault. He knows how to “work the system.” He has never acknowledged to me the part he played in destroying our family. From my experience, it is very important for young couples to be sure that they are compatible emotionally and that they truly agree on spiritual matters. One partner should not be considered “right” and the other “wrong.”

  158. EDiL13
    January 22, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    (Here’s a “short” version of my very long story.)

    I joined the Mormon church in 1971 in California at the age of 14. No one else in my family ever joined, but my own membership lasted 33 years. I went to the LA temple for the first time in 1989, so I had the opportunity to see the changes that occurred in the early 90s, most of which I was happy about back then. I remained single, served in a number of callings and did my best to be a faithful Mormon until my career fell apart in 1995. At that time I decided to move to Alaska where my sisters and their families had lived for 30 years. Several years later, after finally finding steady employment, I bought my first house in Anchorage, and within two months I met the love of my life. We were the 13th “live” couple sealed in the Anchorage Alaska temple after it was dedicated the first time around.

    That was the year that I began to lose my innocence where the Mormon church was concerned. My sisters and other members of my family were hurt that they were not allowed to be at my actual wedding ceremony, but had to wait in another building and have Mormonism preached to them instead, and some of them were quite vocal about it. Between that and adjusting to having another person in my living space (as much as I loved him) after living alone for around 10 years, I became unable to function after only a few months. I have suffered from unpredictable, debilitating, and so far incurable episodes of depression and fatigue for most of my life, and stresses like this usually aggravate it.

    It didn’t help that I was called on the carpet by my bishop for getting too upset to complete a session in the temple, and told that I should not go to the temple when emotionally upset. This is only one example of a number of hurtful interactions that happened between me and various church leaders, all of which together caused me to seriously reflect on the question: If God is really all good and kind as well as all knowing and all powerful, and if He is really at the helm of this church, then why would He allow them to deal with their members in such a hurtful manner?

    I stayed a member for the first 5 years of our marriage, but eventually I turned in my temple recommend with the words, “The Lord judge between me and the leadership of this church; only He knows how deeply I’ve been hurt by the way I’ve been dealt with.” I never got it back after that, although I went through the temple recommend interview half a dozen times that year with various members of my bishopric and stake presidency. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was the question about sustaining the President of the Mormon church as the mouthpiece of God for the whole world (although it isn’t worded exactly that way). My answer was yes, but only for the Mormon church, not for all the other people in the world. Maybe the Pope is authorized by God to be the leader of the Catholics, and maybe the Dalai Lama is authorized by God to be the leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, etc, and maybe their “priesthood” is no more or less valid than the one the Mormons claim has the only true “keys”. That answer was not considered acceptable.

    I knew in my heart that it was not wrong for me to have an open mind about the other religions of the world, and that it was not wrong for me to be honest about it, but it was wrong for me to be punished (denied a temple recommend) for it. Finally, for the first time ever, I wrote a letter to the first presidency, in order to make sure that the local leaders were not misinterpreting church policy. My letter was intercepted and responded to by a member of the 70, and the answer consisted of basically 4 parts: “Gordon B. Hinckley doesn’t have time for you (stated politely, but that was the gist of it); we’re sorry for what you’ve been through; yes, you need to believe this to go to the temple; and: we hope that you will repent so you can go back to the temple with your husband.”

    That was when I decided to resign, because I was not willing to repent for having an open mind and being honest, although I had been through nearly a year of soul searching before I made that decision, and I didn’t make it lightly. During that time, my husband and I were both unemployed/partially disabled, and living on our savings and our families’ charity (no useful help from the church because we weren’t destitute enough yet to do it their way — long story), but religion superseded our economic situation in terms of being what I worried about constantly — that’s how bad it got.

    Oddly, Gordon B. Hinckley was my favorite Mormon “prophet” of all time. It was ironic that I left his church during his administration. I suppose he never actually read my letter, but it may have been unrealistic of me to expect that he ever would.

    After I had the dubious distinction of being the first member of his ward to leave the church on his watch, my husband’s bishop told me that I “should be single again” in front of my husband, and he told my husband, in front of me, that now that I was no longer a member of his church, our marriage would end at death. That was 10 years ago, and we are still married. I am now a member of the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and my husband is still a “TBM”. This situation has made our marriage “interesting”, to say the least. We are still deeply in love, and we have no intention of separating. I try to celebrate the fact that our marriage is now a crucible for interfaith relations (even though he refuses to regard my departure from “the true religion” as anything but a tragedy), and I try to treat him and his religion with respect, but I fail often and we still argue about religion more often than I like to admit, even after 10 years of trying to figure out how to cope with being different religions. I believe his Mormon beliefs are doing him more harm than good, but he doesn’t see it that way and I know that I don’t have the right to make that determination for him. To me, the most hurtful thing is that he has sorrow that he doesn’t need to have because he believes we will be separated at death, and we often waste our precious time together in the here and now arguing about an unknown hereafter. I have told him that I tentatively believe and/or hope that whether or not we get to be together in the next life (if there is one) is going to be up to him, up to me, and up to God (Whoever and Whatever That is); it’s not going to be up to the earthly institution that calls itself the LDS church, and meanwhile, we’re having too much trouble getting through the “here and now” to worry about the “hereafter”.

    Several years ago, I stumbled across the “bloggernacle” on the internet, including John Dehlin’s podcasts. I have listened to almost all of them while my husband is at work (he was finally able to find a real job) and I’m puttering around the house trying to be an adequate housekeeper, since I never recovered from my last episode of job burnout and was never able to go back to work. I have shared a few of these podcasts with my husband, especially the one about why people leave the church. I also found the essay, posted on Brian Johnston’s “Stay LDS” website, about how to stay in the church even if you no longer believe in everything they stand for. I have learned a lot, and have found lots of inspiring and comforting food for thought. I know more about Mormonism now than I did when I was still a member. And I think I can probably say that if this stuff had been available when I was thinking about leaving the church, I might not have left.

    I have tried to rejoin several times, not because Mormonism is the religion I would ever choose again for myself, but for my husband’s sake — I dream of how insanely happy he would be if he could rebaptize me. But I refuse to lie to them about what I believe and what I don’t believe, or about what I’m willing and able to do and what I’m not willing or able to do. At least my husband and his current bishop (an old and good friend to both of us, and not the same one who handled my resignation from the church) respect me for my integrity, and I try my best to treat them both with the respect they deserve. But according to this bishop’s interpretation of current church policy, in order to become a member again, I have to believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, so no go. I don’t believe that, nor do I wish to, although I still believe that living by His teachings tends to make the world a better place.

    A couple of years ago I sent an email in to this website and never got a reply, so I assumed that either they get swamped with stories like this and never got around to it, or that it got lost in cyberspace somehow. I ended up showing it to my husband and his bishop so that the time and energy that I spent writing it wouldn’t go to waste, and it seemed to help them understand. I’m trying again by posting this comment here, although it’s probably too long for anyone to read, just like my first one. I admit that I’m no good at being concise.

    I’m still afraid that my marriage is on a collision course with my husband’s religion (and I sometimes fantasize about the two of us doing an interview, and maybe getting a little marriage counseling as well, with John Dehlin), but that collision has already happened more than once, and we’re still together and still in love. So I guess we’re proof that it’s possible to make a “mixed faith” marriage work, at least marginally and at least for up to 10 years (and still counting). But I don’t recommend that Mormons and non-Mormons get married if they can possibly avoid it. It’s not a situation most people would want to end up in, or start a marriage out with, if they had a choice.

    And to you John: I, and probably a number of other people, would be willing to tell your stake president that (at least from where I’m sitting), it looks like you’ve done more good than harm in terms of helping people stay members of the Mormon church rather than leave it. I am also of the opinion that if they decide to excommunicate you, it will be THEIR LOSS, not yours. Thank you for all the work you’ve done on these podcasts, and for having the courage not to let your church leaders bully you into stopping what you’re doing. I’m just sorry that I haven’t had the energy, time, or money (my husband is now our sole breadwinner and donates more than we can afford to his church) to offer you more support, but I’m grateful for all the others who have been willing and able to help you stay “on the air”.

    Thanks again for all your efforts, and many good wishes, hope, and prayers (or whatever we all believe in these days) for your future endeavors.

    PS EDiL stands for “Elohim’s Daughter in Law” 🙂

  159. Anonymous
    January 22, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    John, my heart hurts for you. You are so brave and compassionate for everything you are doing. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your honesty and willingness to have these discussions. My husband and I are separated right now. There were issues before I came out with my disaffection with the church, but it is the catalyst for my current situation. And I quote, “why try to save our marriage when you aren’t going to be a mormon wife and my kids won’t be raised mormon anyway?” I can’t tell you how lonely this situation has made me feel. Losing your testimony in your mid life and not being able to talk to your spouse (or anyone else in your life since all your family and friends are Mormon too, for that matter) creates a huge rift in intimacy and trust and communication in your marriage. Now I understand when people say, “I love Mormons, but I hate Mormonism.” Shame on the church for creating this situation of all or nothing, eternal families are only for believers, temple recommends that separate families during important moments in our lives, warning of apostates and anti material, etc.

    John, I wish you happiness. And I also wish that you can change the church. I’m behind you 100% and willing to help in any way I can.

  160. The Odd One
    January 29, 2015 at 5:35 am

    I’m in the middle of a faith maturation process. I don’t like calling it a transition, because that suggests that the old paradigms change completely. I believe that the principles the church teachers are for the most part in alignment with Christ’s teachings. If you take out the inconceivable insanity that was polygamy, the book of Abraham historicity, and the masonic temple ties, there really isn’t anything about the church in it’s modern state that bothers me. I love the Book of Mormon and feel like it teaches correct principles. I can’t comprehend Joseph just pulling it out of his butt, and nobody else has a viable explanation for how it came about. The church is a great organization that effectively administers a healthy and uplifting religious experience for the vast majority of it’s members.

    We’ve had a fair number of TBM Mormon’s leave our ward, leave the church, people I never would have imagine leaving. Good people. Honest people. That isn’t to say that those still in the church aren’t good or honest, it’s just that they aren’t well informed about the fringe elements of their religion. I wish I could go back to those days. There was a clarity of thought and belief, a very high moral standard, and a very predictable and safe infrastructure that provided a foundation and sense of social and spiritual stability that seemed rock solid.

    As good members left, I kept scratching my head, wondering why. I began to ask around, and they had this look in their eyes that said “trust us, you’ll probably be happier of we just keep quiet and let you believe what you believe.” That’s true. I was much happier before I learned about all the stuff that’s been swept under the rug. But I was also rather naive.

    I found Mormon Stories while trying to figure out what was at the root of the endowment rituals. I love the covenants of the endowment, they make sense and are rooted in the scriptures, but the ritual portion that’s designed to help you remember the covenants and enforce the privacy of the endowment always bugged me, from day one. I kept quiet, but it really seemed so “cultish”. I remember the first time thinking “why is all this stuff in here? Why is everybody in the room so comfortable with it?”

    When I learned of the Masonic sources, I was honestly relieved. I realized that Joseph had learned those rituals from another source and felt they would help members remember the endowment and take it seriously, but that it wasn’t from a divine source. I’m like “okay, now this makes sense. I wouldn’t have done it this way, but it makes sense in the historical context.” Suddenly I felt comfortable in the endowment again. I don’t believe those rituals are in any way necessary for salvation, or that there will be any angels in heaven expecting me to shake their hand a particular way or say anything specific. But I do believe that if someone stands up before God & witnesses and commits to live Christ’s teachings, to live a high moral standard, that covenant empowers them to receive a greater measure of support from God and the Holy Spirit.

    That said, having found Mormon Stories while researching the temple, it opened the flood gates. Suddenly I had access to all these sources critical of the church, well told stories of people who had left the church and why. And that helped me to understand my neighbors, why they left and why they stay relatively quiet about it. Would I want to intentionally tell my neighbor what I know, potentially harming his family and faith?

    No. I couldn’t do it unless someone asked. The benefits of the church in the lives of faithful member families far outweigh the negative aspects of it’s origins or historicity. The leadership of the church are honorable and well-intentioned men and women. I can honestly say that there are only a handful of times in my life that any apostle or prophet said anything or did anything that bothered me, and those can be attributed mostly to Bruce R. McKonkie and Paul H. Dunn, good men who abused the pulpit. Remarkable that the vast majority of the church’s leaders stay true to the intent of Christ’s message.

    Still. Now I know everything. Now I have to choose what to do with my own family. I’ve dropped a few hints to my TBM wife about things I’ve learned. I get the eyebrow raise, but she doesn’t freak out. I think she knows where I’m headed, and is hoping that if she doesn’t overreact that it’ll blow over.

    Now I live in a compromised state, a state of internal tension, and I hate it. I hate this lifestyle, this state of being. I miss the days when there was a purity and uniformity of thought and belief. I don’t blame the current leadership for where things are, but I’m genuinely baffled how the church survived all of the insanity during it’s origins. How did people continue to follow Joseph & Brigham? With so many of the founding members leaving, how did it stay so strong, transition, and grow into what it is today? It’s a real puzzle to me.

    Up until now I’ve felt perfectly comfortable giving time and funds to the church. Now I find myself staring out the windows during church meetings, enjoying the messages and people for the most part, but wondering how life would be if I were outside the walls. How much easier life would be if I could use the funds I earned to pay off debts, help my kids through college, pay for braces & kids cars, help my dad who’s destitute with more support, financially help my sister who just got divorced when her husband of 30 years cheated on her and left the church. Stay at home mom with no skills, no job, very little hope. No, I can’t spend my 10% on those serious and immediate needs, it has to go to the church or I lose my recommend and become one of those “less worthy Mormons”. Not having a recommend would be a game-changer for my marriage, I’m confident my wife would leave me. She’d feel I’d thrown in the towel on my long-term commitment to her, our family, and God, which is utter BS.

    The church is a wonderful organization at it’s core, but is way too rigid. If I went to my bishop and said “bishop, I need to reroute my tithing funds for a while to help my elderly father and divorced sister”, but I still want to go with my wife to the temple. I know he’d say “just have faith, pay your tithing, it’ll all work out”. Well, what do you say to that?

    Faith is an ideal that used to be so easy, and now seems so much harder. I had faith in the stories and history I’ve been taught about the church and it’s origins. Great stories! If only they were 100% accurate! Now that I see the big picture, faith is much much harder to come by, much harder to exercise. I’m trying to focus on what Christ would have me do, had faith in him and his message of hope and love. How much harder will it be to love and serve my family & friends if I cut myself off from the social structure of our faith community? I could find another community, but the Mormon Church is my community, nearly everybody I know is a member, and those who aren’t live lives of self-indulgence. Many of the members who have left our ward & stake have also abandoned the principles I still hold dear. They drink alcohol, smoke, party, get tattoos, have open affairs, and basically just stop living the gospel altogether. They go “the way of the world”. That’s just not me.

    So what’s the point of leaving the church if I intend on basically living the same way and interacting with the same people? Leave it out of historical spite as so many on this forum have done? I don’t know. I’m struggling with the decision and how to proceed. I envy those who can just make a decision and run with it, consequences be damned. I don’t want to deal with the inevitable consequences.

    So I fall into that burgeoning category of members who love the church but hate it’s history and rigidity, quietly and painfully fluctuating between approval & disgust.

    It’s uncomfortable to a level that almost sickens me.

    I hate Mormon Stories and wish I’d never found this site.

    I also love Mormon Stories and appreciate what everybody has contributed.

    I feel as conflicted about this site and it’s founder as I do about the church itself, especially now that John has decided to be defiant and stubborn about things that I don’t agree with. He has decided to be an official Anti-Mormon, show his true colors, it’s clear that what he intends is to do as much damage to the church as possible, to dislodge as many faithful and happy members from it as possible.

    And as much as social progress is desirable, I don’t believe he is thinking clearly about the LGBT community. Yes, people with alternative sexuality should be treated with respect and given rights as human beings. But No: under no circumstances should marriage be reclassified to mean something entirely different than it has meant for thousands of years. It’s theft of an ideal, it’s an absolute degradation. Two men prodding each other’s anuses with no hope of generating offspring, whether they love each other or not, does not deserve to be called marriage. Any group of individuals can call themselves a family, sure, but marriage is sacred. Man and Woman. Period. I can love those with LGBT lifestyles, and know their relationships can be genuinely loving. But that doesn’t give them the right to hijack and steal that word and institution for their own purpose. It’s no different than Islamic extremists hijacking the Muslim religion, ruining the entire world’s perception of that religion. The ideal of marriage & family that elevates our culture will be so dramatically diluted that it will essentially mean nothing. I’m not homophobic, I have a dear relative who’s gay, and he’s awesome. Love him to death. He’s had several husbands now.

    In the end, it’s not the same. Hahahaaha, wow. No pun intended.

    If we go so far as to let anybody marry anybody or anything, then there’s really no reason to keep the marriage vow at all. May as well just follow Hollywood’s lead and abandon the ritual, vow, and institution of marriage altogether, sleeping with and living with whoever we want for as long or short a period as we want. No standards, no ideals, just wreckless self-indulgence.

    Now I’m just rambling!

    Back to the point I ultimately was trying to get to, and that point is this:

    With regards to my marriage and the impending conflict that will ensue as I “transition”, I feel like I’m gurgling poison, trying to decide whether I swallow it and move on to the next life, or spit it out and try to live with the discomfort I’m feeling in this life. It’s one or the other. Red Pill or Blue Pill?

    Why couldn’t God simply make a white pill? A pure religion, divine and inspired, with no B.S. I thought that’s what we had.

  161. East Side James
    February 2, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    My wife and just managed to get through a real faith crisis over the last year. We got married in April 2014 after having known each other since 2004 and dating since 2013. Thanks to the church essays my wife and I are on the same page regarding church history. We both decided to stop attending church as of a month ago and are now attending a non-denominational Christian congregation. We have also decided to become supporters of the podcast. If it wasn’t for Mormon Stories our marriage could very well be in shambles right about now. It was through the John Dehlin’s Facebook page that she could see firsthand the struggles people were going through and read the supporting documents herself.

    I’ve been a member since 1991. I got baptized when I was 11 (I’m 35 now). I served a mission in Idaho from 2005-2007. Ironically, it was my mission that started me down this path. My trainer and another elder were obsessed with studying unapproved church history and deep doctrine dealing with the cosmos, hieroglyphics, and Old Testament prophecies. From 2007 onward I read books like “No Man Knows My History” in addition to a variety of YouTube videos and apologetic books discussing church issues. I had a cursory knowledge of many historical concerns and was able to rationalize most of them through the likes of apologetic books and FAIR.

    Here’s a summary of how 2014 went for us.

    May: My personal shelf broke after reading the CES Letter. At first I was upset with the angry tone of the letter. As I read more I began learning things I had never seen before such as the extent and immorality of Joseph Smith’s polygamy, the rock in the hat translation, Book of Abraham plagiarism, Book of Mormon plagiarism, the magic worldview, racism, Masonic rituals in the temple endowment, the changing of the revelations, and James Strang’s Mormon sect with metal plates and all.

    June: My wife noticed that I wasn’t terribly excited to go to the temple each month nor was I in a rush to pay tithing. That led to arguments concerning my faith. At some point I had to let her in on my doubts. We prayed and studied both in our home and in the temple. We ended up getting different answers to the same questions. Moroni’s promise was tearing us apart as I wasn’t getting the same confirmation that she was.

    July: We went as chaperones on a stake youth trip to Kirtland. We got to see many of the sites mentioned in church history such as the room where Joseph received his vision of the kingdoms of glory. The whole experience strengthened my wife’s faith yet weakened mine. When we got back home the arguments continued. I had little choice but to share the CES Letter with her. It was my Hail Mary pass if you will. After reading it all the way through she also started to have doubts. The issues that troubled her the most were polygamy, the Book of Abraham, the Book of Mormon translation/plagiarism, and the City Creek Mall. She comes from a country rife with poverty, and she saw firsthand how members living in indigent circumstances felt obliged to give tithing to the church. To her the spending of 1.5B on a commercial mall was terribly unfair. We talked about what to do now that she had lost her faith in the church. I suggested we stay in the church and casually work our way into inactivity. She wanted to get out right away. As a courtesy we decided to meet with our leaders to let them know we were upset with the church for misrepresenting its past and we would stop attending. We first met with our bishop. He wasn’t aware of any of the historical issues nor did he want to learn about any of them. He sent us off to our stake president so he could handle my stake calling and our temple recommends.

    August: We met with our stake president. He also was not aware of many of these issues despite church essays having been available for several months and him spending 60+ years in the church. He did not believe half the things we told him and dismissed it all as hogwash. He did admit that Joseph Smith was a flawed man (he cited the Kirtland bank scandal). However, in his mind Joseph’s flaws didn’t invalidate any aspects of the restoration. As we were about to have our temple recommends removed my wife broke down emotionally. She felt like God was telling her to stay. Our stake president had mercy on us and let us keep our recommends and callings.

    September: Things were happy for a while and then they went sour. We discussed divorce about a week after my birthday. It broke her heart to think that she would be losing the love of her life. I didn’t want to lose her either. I just couldn’t bare to see her cry anymore. I was willing to break my own heart to save hers. She decided to put an end to the quarrels and do some more studying of her own. This time instead of praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true and she decided to ask if it was not true! This is why I married my wife. She thinks of things even I don’t come up with. She prayed and prayed and ended up getting the same feeling she had 11 years ago when she took Moroni’s challenge. That just didn’t make any sense. For once she could see just how subjective that challenge was and how we couldn’t rely on it. Once again, we decided to stop attending church. She informed members of the Relief Society presidency that she would no longer teach.

    The Relief Society member she had contacted offered to come by with her husband to discuss the historical concerns. This brother justified polygamy through a personal witness he had that the church needed it to take care of woman living in indigent circumstances. He believes it is what helped the church survive all the persecution. The sister had seen an article on Wikipedia about how there is a cave in Latin America found to have engravings on metal plates. I believe some of the writings may even have links to a Book of Mormon name or two. We informed them of the uglier aspects of polygamy as well as links to Captain Kid stories (Cumoros island with a capitol of Moroni). That meeting ended with a blessing on each of our heads. In the blessings I was told the Lord was not happy with me for reading these documents and I needed to expel Satan from our home. My wife got a much nicer blessing. As a result, my wife felt the Spirit and renewed her conviction to stay LDS once again.

    November: At this point I was out of ammo. If The CES Letter and various historical documents weren’t going to convince her I didn’t know what would. We decided to continue going to church as a couple. However, I continued drilling her on some of our previous discussions. Things came to a tipping point when the church released the essay “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo.” She read the essay and became convinced that polygamy did not come from God. The most troubling aspects were the marriages to teenagers and married women. The key thing to note was that the church confirmed that these things actually happened on their own Web site.

    December: We got to church half an hour late and ended up staying in the car. That was when she came out and admitted she had begun to have doubts again. We talked about it some more and decided it was time to stop attending for good. Once again we got on Mormon Stories and YouTube to start hearing the other side of the story regarding church history. We were inspired by the interview with Hans Mattsson, former Seventy in Sweden. Other videos with Grant Palmer and Sandra Tanner were also quite helpful.

    We are adjusting now, and are happy to be at peace again.

  162. Esther
    February 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I had a very tragic end to my marriage because I had a husband who decided to research more information about the church until he destroyed his testimony. I firmly believe that if you are trying to nurse the doubt you have, then that is what will grow. My husband went on different path and decided the true church was founded with polygamy and insisted we continue our marriage in this matter. Since then he has left the church altogether as he was unable to filter all the information about the church to come to any sort of compatible conclusion. I have no problem with transparency about church history. I have no problem with learning more about actions taken by leaders or doctrines issued. I have a firm testimony that I don’t know everything and cannot know everything. If there is something I don’t understand, I remember my testimony that is founded upon what I do know and understand. Humans cannot possibly unearth all there is to know that explains all the mysteries to life. Humans are imperfect and I trust that we have a God that knows what is best for each of us individually.

    Mormon Stories has not affected my marriage one way or the other. I have little use for Mormon Stories in my life, but have found excellent interviews on here now and then that I truly enjoy. I truly enjoy Mormon Sunday School as it enriches my Sunday School experience.

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