331: The Bill Prince Family Story – From Stake Presidency and Houston Mormon Royalty to Ex-Mormons

This episode was recorded as part of the January 2012 Mormon Stories regional conference held in Houston, Texas dedicated to the topic of “Maintaining Positive Relationships Through Empathy and Dialogue.”  Interview participants include Bill Prince, Julie Prince, Tina Prince and Lee Prince.  Bill Prince served as a member of the Houston Texas Stake Presidency for several years before his daughter, Tina, left the LDS church; Bill and Julie soon followed.  This is their Mormon story.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Neeserclifford@comcast.net

    It’s always tricky the first day. I have been trying all day without success. Can’t wait to hear it. Should be good road trip entertainment!

  2. Very interesting podcast. I feel like I know Bill Prince and his family because I knew his parents.

    Douglas F. Prince (Bill’s father) was my Mission President for the first 18 months of my mission (1988 – 1990) in Pennsylvania. What a character! I’m not surprised to hear that he was kind of a strict father. He had some pretty interesting views on belief and the Church but was generally a great guy. Your mom was/is a sweet lady as well. Sounds like Bill and Tina may have got their emotional nature from Douglas F. I can’t count how many times I saw him tear up when talking about the Church and his faith. It was interesting to hear your stories from the perspective of a son.

    The coke cup story made me laugh. Pres. Prince was also big on home remedies. Apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper were cure-alls. When I was a DL one of my elders ended up in the hospital because the vinegar and cayenne didn’t quite work as they promised to.

    I have a ton respect for Bill and his family. I respect him for doing what he felt was right despite the costs. I can’t imagine leaving back then. It took the internet and the support of many other like minds for me to get where I am. I’ve become a disaffected Mormon after finding out about some of the history and doctrine. I liked the Church alright but in the end was faithful because I though it was the truth. To me once it became clear that it was not what it claimed to be it was not worth it. I don’t see the reason to pretend things are real or that they happened if they did not— just to support a belief system.

    Glad to see that Bill and his family are happy and making it all work. It gives me hope. I can only that someday I can get to such a good place.

    Thanks to John and all for sharing.

  3. Thank you so much you all for participating in this. I find it to be tremendously helpful in my post mormon reality to hear. I often feel I am alone in my unique perspectives regarding the church outside of it. One doesn’t just turn anti and unfriendly! We are still who we are and life goes on when those around us allow it, but more importantly when *we* allow it. Nice to meet these folks! 

  4. So gratifying to hear the Prince’s get to tell their story.  It’s great to have fora like these where people can be heard.

    Bill, if you read this, could you tell me if you had anymore of those incredible spiritual experiences after leaving?  And after losing faith in God?  My current working model is that *which* religion is less in important than having *a* religion to focus our minds and hearts on that “something” force you say helps humans help each other.  But you seem to naturally experience these things, and I wonder if that has abated since leaving religion.

    1. I have only had a few very special spiritual experiences in my life, some have been gospel related and others relating to my family.  Prior to leaving the Church I would consider myself a spiritual person and had many what I would call promptings of the Spirit.  Most of my experinces were Church related because that is where I was spending most of my time.  Since leaving the Church, I feel that I am the same person.  I still feel spiritual, but do not feel that I know whether the experiences are self generated or come from a higher source of some kind.  I do not believe that the Mormon Church has a corner on spiritual experiences. 

      1. Thanks for following up and responding, Bill.  I appreciate the warm spirit you communicated in telling your story, and the amount of empathy and tolerance you have for the church even after your departure.  Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Never met the Princes, but really appreciate this podcast immensely.  Honesty, courage and integrity shines through their “testimony”.  Thanks John for facilitating this. 

  6. You know, the thing that stands out so much in this story, is this: It seems to be all about the Church. Why is there no sense of Jesus in all this? Where is the devotion, the love, the understanding and appreciation for the Savior that is unique among the Saints? 

    I get the feeling that Bill was so involved administratively and socially that he never engaged devotionally. After all, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “We speak that we do know and testify that we have seen…” Was Bill, this man of renowned integrity, speaking that he did know and testifying that he had seen, falsely, all those years, before he left?

    1. Doug, To me this is the whole problem with what Mormon Stories has become virtually an anti  church site. There is rarely the focus on the saviour , his atonement or reference to the scriptures.

      I rarely visit now what was once a promising idea, to take in all shades of view.
      The recent second podcast by Grant Palmer was an all time low.


  7. Did Julie or Bill Prince have a top 10 list for anachronisms, doctrinal disagreements, or historical problems which tipped the scale towards leaving?  I heard 1) masonry in the temple ceremony, 2) commandment based value influence rather than discovery of pragmatic ethics through a human unity evolutionary technique.  Joel Osteen’s one of the few evangelicals to accept at face value that Romney as a Mormon might be a Christian.

  8. Garrett Edmondson

    It is a small world. I am a Freemason and a Mormon. I also
    lived Kay, Texas for few years as well. I even lived on Mason rd. in Katy :) Although I am an active believing Mormon I can understand why the masonic connections to would trouble
    some people. It troubling for me at first as well but through a lot studying and
    prayer I was able to work through it. I wish nothing but the best for the

  9. Garrett Edmondson

    It is a small world. I am a Freemason and a Mormon. I also
    lived Kay, Texas for few years as well. I even lived on Mason rd. in Katy :) Although I am an active believing Mormon I can understand why the masonic connections to would trouble
    some people. It troubling for me at first as well but through a lot studying and
    prayer I was able to work through it. I wish nothing but the best for the

  10. Christina McClendon

    The purpose of the podcast and the theme of the conference was “Maintaining Positive Relationships Through Empathy and Dialogue,” not an in-depth discussion of the reasons why we left the church or the depth and authenticity of our relationships with the Savior. While many of you seem to question the reasons my father, mother or myself left the church, this was not the purpose of the podcast.  The focus was to discuss our relationship and the costs and benefits of the choices we made.  While I understand some of you have more questions, I would ask that before you suggest that my father, mother, or myself did not have a personal witness of the Savior, or that our testimony was only of the “administrative or social” nature of the church, I would remind you of the purpose of the podcast.  It is unfortunate that the empathy and positive nature of the podcast has been lost of some of the commentators here.

    1. Christina McClendon

       Let me also say, that while a few here missed the spirit of the podcast, I have had lovely responses personally and through facebook, along with the positive commentators here.  I truly appreciate the support.  This was a difficult podcast for all of us, having never talked about it before in public.  The people who have reached out to me personally and shared with me their stories and found help by listening to ours is such an honor.  I want to make sure that I also mention the positive.  Except for a few comments on this site, the entire experience was quite positive. Thank you all for your kind words and love for me and my family.

      1. What a great podcast! The goodness and integrity of the Prince family shined through and was very inspiring to one like myself who has had a long struggle these last seven years as I’ve tried to show my wife and family of six children who I raised in the same devout way as the Princes, that I am still the same man with the same values I always had. The way the church tries to insert itself into sacred family relationships has made me very angry and probably taken 5 or 6 years off my life I think. I’m so grateful for John Dehlin and the Prince Family for having the courage to share your story and I can’t wait to share it with my family. And I testify that truth and love are more powerful than dogma and guilt and are winning out ever so slowly in our family, so thank you again so much for helping so many others like me on this very hard but so worth it journey.

  11. Nice program John.  I loved your interjection and you made a poignant observation.  It used to annoy me that my wife would accept the “warts” and “failures” made by the church, and saw her attitude as too liberal, too compromising.  I was the orthodox member, and tried to live my life by every whit of obedience.   Today, I’m the atheist, and she is still a member with a recommend.  

    She recently took our young son through the temple as he prepares for a mission.  The ceremony disturbed him immensely.  He asked me how, after such ritual, we would dare argue against the accusations of being a cult.  I told him to be patient and talk to his friends that are out on missions now.  There is a part of me that would tell him all I believe, but then again, I look back on my mission with fondness, and appreciate the language I learned and the experience that matured me into an adult.  I prepared him as best I could and even discussed the fact that the ceremony is a masonic copy, and it doesn’t come down from the Solomon story.  For me, the temple is one of the big 5 that steered me out of the church.  

    Anyway, thank you Princes for sharing.  I also didn’t want to lose my faith, but now that it is gone, there is indescribable peace, joy and understanding.  A love that is mine to freely give without compulsion.  Everything religion promised, but only non-belief delivered, as I realize my position in the cosmos, I cling harder to my loved ones, including my wife, and suddenly honesty, stark realization, and unbelievable appreciation for my station in life, just to be here possibly for this moment only, make me eagerly want to live my life as best I can, and cultivate my close relationships as if all hinges on it.  It does.

    1. Rude Dog,
      Your experience with your son, and your restraint in what you didn’t tell him, touched me deeply.  I really appreciate what you said. Thank you. You show an understanding and a maturity for the fuzziness of these issues.  Not everyone will agree, but I really do feel the delicacy of these issues and feel the struggle you experienced trying to decide how to raise your son as he serves a mission for a church with “warts” and “failures” as you call them.  Great.  Loved it.


  12. I am a Mormon whose roots are to Far West and Nauvoo. I come from a very long line of temple workers. In fact my wife and I presently are temple missionaries in Lima Peru. Both an uncle and a partner in business were Freemasons, so I had many opportunities for discussion and discovery concerning the topic of Mormonism and Freemasonry. I just finished reading “The Development of LDS Temple Worship by Devery S. Anderson. He quotes several sources that indicate a common held belief among church members in the 19th Century was that our temple ceremonies were a refined and revealed purer form of Masonry. I ask what is wrong with that interpretation? 

    I have traveled to numerous old  Inca and ancient pre-Inca ruins throughout Peru and the Andes Mountains. As I have climbed and hiked about these ruins of which the earliest date back to almost 6,000 BCE, I find temple symbols. Symbols all of who are endowed would recognize and understand their meaning.  Does this mean that Masonry like Presbyterianism is not true?

    As one of the observations made in the Anderson book suggested, was Joseph a fraud because he and Oliver baptized each other, copying that ceremony from the Baptists in the Susquehanna River?  

    Personally, everyone needs to find their comfortable place and I am happy the Prince family has apparently found theirs. I appreciate there is no ranker or attack on the Church and they too have a live and let live attitude. 

    Just for you Tina, as you seemed to open the Masonry can of worms — I can stand in the ruins at Machu Picchu or a dozen others,  or the rooms of any temple including the parking lot of the Bountiful Utah Temple and find the same symbols.  Teachings in the endowment are represented in every ruin I have visited and and have been assured by the scholars and the books I have read that specific and certain basic tenets were practiced and handed down through the millennia along with their symbols. Brother Nibley wrote about this as well and I wish he had visited Peru.  What he wrote about the Hopi Indians and Egyptians applied to the Inca and pre-Inca of Peru for the last 6,000 years. 

    My best wishes to all. Remember life is a struggle and that is part of our temple teaching and prevalent in stones everywhere I have been for the last 18 months in Peru. It has been a fascinating and illuminating journey. Peru is a land of 10,000 temples, shrines and sacred sites yet each day my wife and I work in the only true temple of our God and his Son. 

  13. I’m disappointed that someone had to leave the church to logically appreciate the benefits of something like the law of chastity. I was never taught that we live this way primarily “because God said so” but, rather, I was always taught to appreciate why these things were good for me, personally. God doesn’t give us commandments for HIS benefit. I always understood that.

  14. BIll Prince make a comment that bothered me. Bill said that he did not beleive in the Mormon church yes  He said: “what Joseph Smith
    did  WAS A GREAT WORK” was he kidding? Can someone explain what he

  15. I really enjoyed Bill sharing his experience about how anxious he felt in church when he came back and what his therapist said about it.  That is awesome advice for anyone feeling anxiety in any situation but especially at church.   I have always admired those who are inactive, or especially excommunicated, who are brave enough to show up at church again.    
    I’m sad the Princes had to leave but really enjoyed their perspective on it all.  Thank you Prince family for sharing your story! 

  16. It seems obvious that love should be the ruling principle when people don’t share religious views or values.  There is a natural defensiveness that active, faithful church members feel when someone claims to have a “revelation” that they should leave the church… especially if that person wants to share that with others and bring others away too.  It’s an area where great sensitivity and tolerance is needed both directions.  I have a non-LDS friend who has been alarmed by the number of people she knows who have had parents and siblings abandon them simply because of their choice to become a member of the LDS faith.  It could happen in any religion, and is obviously wrong, as it is also obviously wrong to not continue to love and respect a person who leaves the LDS faith.  On these issues, there are many of us who will simply never see eye to eye.

    When it comes to religion, there should be more of an “agree to disagree” philosophy.  I find it offensive when people try to convince me that my religion is not true (as seems to often be the case with many who leave the church, hence the phrase “they can’t leave and not leave it alone”).  I would certainly never try to insult a person who was a member of any faith by trying to explain to them why their faith is wrong.  I am interested in the traditions of people in other faiths.  I also don’t want someone trying to explain why my faith is wrong.  I appreciate people like the Princes who are not trying to bring people away from the LDS faith even though they have left.  Mormon stories helps informed LDS members to have a better understanding of people who leave, I know I have felt much kinder feelings to those people I may have previously labeled “unrepentant sinners” in my ignorance of their personal situations.I am interested to know how The Princes feel about past experiences and revelations that moved them forward on the path they were on before leaving the church, or if they look back and honestly say that they never had faith confirming experiences… that they went through the “church motions” based on what parents, family, and friends did.  It only makes sense to me that if a person never had faith confirming experiences or a conversion, he/she would eventually not be motivated to stay.  If someone did have faith confirming experiences, what makes opposite revelations more reliable?  And if someone begins to doubt or believe, it seems that emotion can be like a self fulfilling prophecy toward greater belief or unbelief.    I don’t think it’s right for any of us to judge each other.  My experiences and testimony which have lead me to believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ’s church, doesn’t mean I can judge someone who does not share that faith or had experiences like mine.  I sometimes wonder why some people seem more inclined to faith and others not.  There is certainly not a direct relationship between being a wonderful person and being an active member of any faith.  Some of the best people I know don’t believe in God or Christ (I’m thankful that my LDS faith gives me a reason to hope for the salvation of every person).  some people’s brains work in a way that doesn’t leave room for the unprovable.  I pity them for the experiences they are missing out on, they pity me for what they see as living in a delusional state.  It’s a mistake to label a lack of faith “sin”.  The scriptures seem to explain that some people are not ready… there is much talk in the scriptures about the Jews one day becoming a believing people.  Interestingly enough, there is some Jewish heritage in my LDS family… and it is through that Jewish line that there is the most unbelief.    It also doesn’t mean anyone who has not had my experiences can judge me.  So there is a natural difference of feeling and opinion between those who have experienced conversion and those who have not.  Hopefully we can all appreciate each other.

    1. Some time ago, on one of those news shows, there was a story about a young man who had some sort of tumor or condition that was affecting his brain in a way that caused him to have visions and he would try to prophesy or teach others.  I remember it really struck me, because the doctors could solve the problem by some kind of surgery or drugs (sorry I am so vague about the details.  It’s been a while ago, I’m an old lady).  Both the young man & his father had doubts about either, because the euphoria he felt with his visions was so great, he could not imagine a life without it.  Some might question that he maybe was some sort of inspired prophet.  The scientists felt the answer was in the brain… Since that time I have read articles or seen other documentaries about the brain to lead me to believe that I need to be very careful about responding to strong “feelings.”  I am not ready to give that up completely and say it is all science & neurons.  But now I like to use logic & how the inspiration or feeling may help me or others in society.  I remember once a friend of mine was listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on a tape as she was resting on her bed.  She was pregnant at the time and felt very spirtually moved.  All of a sudden she had the feeling that this pregnancy was going to be lost, or that the baby would die in infancy or early childhood.  She shared this with me (I was still a TBM at the time) and explained that God was trying to prepare her.  I told her that I categorically disagreed.  I couldn’t believe a loving Father would cause her so much sorrow or stress by allerting her of some horrible future event.  Because she had lost an infant many years ago, I suggested that this was a fear feeling that just happened to coincide with her sleepy listening to the Tabernacle Choir.  She seemed unconvinced.  But, happily, that baby is now a mother with babies of her own.  I guess what I am saying is, whenever I have negative feelings that one of my visiting kids is going to crash in the plane or whatever (!) (can’t help when thoughts rush in – I can only help my reaction to it) I immediately say a prayer thanking God for bringing them safely home and for all the many blessings I am enjoying.  Then I toss that negative thought out of my mind.  What if something terrible ever did happen?  I would consider it a coincidence.  I refuse to believe a loving creator would warn someone who could do nothing about the outcome!  So whether it is a possitive or negative feeling, I anaylze it and make sure it is something that is helpful to me, & others or at the least, not harmful or negative to either myself, others or society. 

  17. @d5e61ea68de0a89421bd28cd434007b3:disqus 
    If you’ve listened here at Mormon Stories you would have heard on numerous occasions that Masons and Mormon Masons agree, Masonry as a practice and organization got its start perhaps as early, but not earlier than the 13 and 14th centuries.  By reading your post it sounds as though you would promulgate the folklore and traditional myth that somehow the endowment has made its way from the ceremonies practiced in Solomon’s courts, and that somehow the ancestors of the Mayan and Incas had a version of the endowment and even practiced it.  Did I read you right?  I’ve heard it straight from Masons themselves, that Masonry is not, and never was a religious organization, not even a so called purer form you postulate.  There is a difference between “scholars” that lead Mormon flavored tours of South American ruins where Lamanite fervor and fever run wide and  the BoM is used by the Smithsonian to aid its pursuit of knowledge, and scholars, like Micheal Coe that have been featured here at Mormon Stories, who let the evidence lead where it may, and would emphatically deny your hypothesis.  But I’m open.  Do you have a link that would show these recognizable symbols you bespoke of? 


    Our church makes definite truth claims about the natural world that can be tested by natural means.  I appreciate your comment on faith, but I still hear you saying that those without faith are somehow at a disadvantage, that we’re “not ready”.   Mustering all the faith you can doesn’t transform the way things “really are”.  Faith can be a negative and horrifying trait if it keeps one from truth and compels one to violence as a strong and pure faith flew airlplanes into skyscrapers, and murdered 120 men, women and children in a quiet meadow in Souther Utah.  It used to be said that “anti-Mormon” used to mean anything that isn’t true, now it’s used freely and recklessly by members to describe anything that goes against the proclamations of any one leader or even one member, or any set of contemporary teachings from the Salt Lake Pulpit.  I think your last comment about natural difference of feeling and opinion between those who have experienced conversion and those who have not is a judgmental statement, as I would argue that although I don’t know you, I am willing to make a bold prediciton that the Princes expreienced the same warm feelings and had profound experiences that seem miraculous, like you would personally describe, all within the church narrative.  I have had them as well. but so has the Muslim, the Jew, the Baptist, and the Wiccan.  If you will give them all the same due with their conversion story and place as much truth and profudity on their experience as you do your own, then I think you’re on the right path.  I felt the warm burning of the bosom listening to Paul Dunn tell his stories, and I felt it as I learned about evolution and planet formation.  Does all this count as a “conversion experience?”

  18. Jessica Bischoff

    I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. Thanks to the Princes for sharing their story. I would agree with Christina and Bill’s ‘hindsight is 20/20 advice’ about not being vocal to friends and family about doubts. In the past I have definitely shared too much and have felt the judgments of others (as well as the guilt of possibly tearing down someone’s testimony). It’s sad that I can’t be more open, but that’s the reality. For this reason, I really enjoy my Indianapolis MS regional community.
    Thanks to the Open Stories Foundation for all your hard work.

  19. Thank you for sharing your story, I really enjoyed listening to it. 

    There were a couple of times Bill Prince mentioned books he read and would recommend to people, and I’d really  love to know his reading list.

  20. @Rude Dog  — The Joseph Campbell Foundation for symbols, myths, images, and even comments about coming to SLC.  Enjoy!

  21. Why the deception in the name of the site? These aren’t “Mormon Stories”. Ex- Mormon Stories, or perhaps Anti-Mormon Stories would seem more appropriate to me. Am I wrong? If you all are so happy and fulfilled now that you have left the church, why the need to share this with others? Perhaps out of the goodness of your souls you are trying to help us poor, diluted, believing members of the church. Get a life.

  22. The Princes are obviously good people. But in this life we walk by faith. If we feed our doubts they’ll grow. If we feed our faith it will grow, and on occasion we’ll have powerful spiritual moments that carry far more weight than anything that feeds doubt.

    1. Paul – you are correct so long as the faith is genuine. But if it is false, you are just feeding a fantasy and those powerful spiritual moments may or may not be evidence of truth. We are all in such a tough spot when it comes to faith and doubt…

  23. From believer, to doubter, to agnostic, to atheist.  I’m saddened by this increasing path.
    Mormons don’t have all the answers but I know I’m a better person for being one.

    1. Me too – but that doesn’t make it any more correct than hundreds of other faith traditions that promote kindness and clean living. Useful and true are VERY different things.

  24. Guestwho – you say I’m “correct so long as the faith is genuine”. Well, I hope my faith is genuine. But I have absolutely no doubt that I’ve had powerful spiritual moments that were genuine. Not a lot of them, mind you. I’m not sure we need a lot of them if we appreciate the one or two or several that might come our way. I only know that I experienced the “burning in the bosom” I’d heard about my whole life. I’m not sure I even expected it, but it was real. I won’t elaborate more than that because it was so powerful and sacred.  I was not “feeding a fantasy”, as you say. I knew then and there that the revelations Joseph received really happened.

    If you’ve ever had such moments, I encourage you to reflect back on them. If you haven’t, I encourage you to focus on getting one. But it’s not likely to come while you’re reading or listening to most of the stuff on this site. This forum provides a safe place for those who like to focus on their doubts. Interesting reading, and maybe it serves a purpose. But I would hate to hang my spiritual welfare on some of the opinions provided here.

    1. Again more nonsense from Paul.

      Can anything be more “sacred” than seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ? Did Joseph Smith hide behind the whole “its too sacred to share but trust me…I KNOW things” You know you have to hand it to Joseph Smith when it comes to this…at least he had guts to say it.

  25. Paul,

    I’ve had similar life experiences and choose to focus on the positives.  Without a true knowledge, it’s what makes the most sense to me. 

    “Feed out faith”….I can really relate to that.


  26. The Prince’s story really resonates with me. Thanks for having the courage to share.  

    I am a 36 year old mother of three.  My husband and I stopped going to church over a year ago and it was mostly due to extensive reading, studying, questioning, discussing, arguing, praying, thinking and more of the above over and over again.  We learned a lot about the church’s history that we didn’t learn growing up and it changed our belief in the church’s claims.  I totally agree with John’s assessment of people that go through this, that it’s mostly those who believe it most literally and follow it to the highest level of orthodoxy that are most shocked and dismayed with what they read.  I was the young women’s president and my husband was the executive secretary when it all came crashing down for us. We had both served missions, I taught at the MTC, went to BYU, married in the temple…the whole enchilada.  I tried to continue in my activity,  but I slowly let go, asking that I be released, that visiting teachers stop coming, home teachers and then I stopped attending Sunday meetings.  Some may see these choices as “feeding doubt”.   We got one letter in which the sender chided, “Don’t let Satan win!”  I actually got a good laugh out of that one. Yes, it was difficult, but SO enlightening. I felt and continue to feel a greater sense of connectedness to people and the world around me.  I feel like less of a robot.  

    I found this great quote on faith from poet Christian Wiman that made me think of my journey:

    “Doubt is so woven in with what I think of as faith that it
    can’t be separated. I am convinced that the same God that might call me to sing
    of God at one time might call me at another to sing of godlessness. And that
    sometimes when I think of all of this energy that’s going in, all of this what
    we’ve talked about, these different people trying to find some way of naming
    and sharing their belief, I think it may be the case that God calls some people
    to unbelief in order that faith can take new forms.”

    It’s funny now, but when we stopped paying tithing and going to church, I was waiting for my husband to lose his job or for some big trial to hit us.  I thought that we were going to miss out on some heavy duty blessings or be struck down.  That hasn’t happened.  What has happened is that I have worked harder and realized that sometimes praying for things can last a lifetime. When we were going through this, I felt a lot of stress and anxiety, so I started lifting weights and working out.  What I realized was that I had prayed for a long time to get in shape and have more energy as a mom, but had done nothing about it.  And here I was leaving the church and that prayer was being answered.

     For those who still believe and attend, I hope you are finding peace and joy and happiness in your journey.  I’m not writing this to offend or as an invitation for you to challenge my journey. I write to help those who may be going through something similar. It can be a really difficult and lonely journey.

    I appreciate and feel a connection with all of the people like the Princes who are sharing their stories.  And thank you John Dehlin for providing an outlet and forum for this kind of discussion and sharing to take place.  It really helps me to try and  figure out ways to maintain a healthy relationship with my true believing friends and family members.  I HAVE had a lot of anger and it’s nice to hear Bill Prince’s perspective.  It’s refreshing.  I really want to make peace with the church.  I want to celebrate ALL of the many ways and routes people follow to find happiness.

    Thanks again.  I’ve listened before, but this is my first comment.  It’s nice to know my husband and I are not alone.

    1. I really enjoyed your comments! Your comments about a lingering fear of some form of celetial retribution for your leaving the church resonated at some level for me too. However, I was mostly just happy to get our roof replaced! As faithful tithe-payers+ there was never enough money to get the roof fixed!
      Best wishes to your & your family. After the “difficult & lonely journey” things get better. Bill & I actually feel so happy now! Sunday has become one of our favorite days & is truly a day of rest (we usually attend Lakewood Church on Sat. night as our “date”).

      1. Thanks. I’m glad you’ve found comfort and peace in the Lakewood Church. We have started attending a local Universalist Unitarian congregation and it has brought SO much peace and healing. A lot of the anger has started to subside. All my best to you and your family.

  27. Just wanted to thank you for sharing. I grew up in the church and was active until 3 years ago when my husband committed suicide , leaving me with 5 children at home. I have always had questions, I am 43, but was afraid to search other religions and whatnot because of the way I was raised. I felt that I would go to hell if I left the church because what if it was the only true church and I just denied it after being in the temple and making those vows. Well, I don’t deny the church, I definitely believe the Book of Mormon to come from somewhere other than Joseph Smiths mind, but there is also the Koran, and hopefully more books of history to come out in the future from other people… Weren’t all commanded to keep a history?? So I search… I am thankful for the church and the scripture study that allows me to have intelligent conversation with people. I have even inspired some people to go back to church that have been inactive even though I do not want to go… go figure…

  28. It always gets our attention when someone who had an “important” calling, i.e., missionary, stake president, YW president, executive secretary, etc., goes inactive. “If someone at their level went inactive they must really know something”! But there are more than a few examples of the same throughout the scriptures. The parables certainly point to the possibility, and as I understand it, teach the importance of having faith, being in Gospel soil, getting adequate nourishment, etc.

    Fact is, there are missionaries who serve for 2 years, work hard, look the part, and give a great talk when they get home. But it’s all an act if they never really experienced the burning in the bosom we call a testimony. I would guess there are a few older members in the same boat. Socially & culturally, they’re “active”. But their foundation is made of sand if the spiritual component is insufficient. A genuine testimony is precious and powerful and reminds us “what we know”. If one’s activity is more a social/cultural habit, it may not be enough to keep you going, especially when you begin to focus on your doubts.

    1. What a perfect example of self-righteous nonsense. There are 1.5 BILLION Muslims on earth of which millions testify citing that the spirit bore witness to them the truthfulness of their religion. What makes their experience less valid than yours Paul? You both can’t be right.

  29. Thank you for sharing your experiences. From its inception I’ve valued Mormon Stories for the power of sharing experiences centered around the faith that I’ve grown up in. The world of Mormonism is simply richer and more nuanced than that interpreted by Bill’s dad or Bruce R. McConkie. In a universe blessed by free agency we all get to choose. In a universe where love is the highest power we are all blessed when we choose love.

    As an active, believing member of the Church and long-time listener to Mormon Stories I strongly identify with Lee Prince. Thank you, Lee, for your thoughts. They remind me of Eugene England and like his, inspire me to be kinder and more devoted to what I believe.

  30. This interview reminded me of how important your interview with the master Mason who is a member of the Church has been to me, John. Since then I haven’t lost a wink of sleep over the ties between Masonry and the Church. God bless the Masons. May we better embrace the principles of love and goodness from Masonry that have impacted our faith.

  31. Bill Prince is a perfect example of how Joseph Smith “done” wrong. You just can’t keep a good man down!

Scroll to Top