John Dehlin

Dr. John Dehlin is a podcaster, non-profit CEO, activist, public speaker, and religious transitions coach.  He is an expert in understanding and supporting people experiencing religious faith crises/transitions.

Education: John has Master’s degree in Instructional Technology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology.  His clinical training and research interests revolve around the nexus of religion and mental health, with an emphasis on navigating: 1) religious faith crises, 2) mixed-faith marriages, and 3) religious and/or LGBTQ identity conflict.

Research: John’s research has been published in numerous peer reviewed scientific journals including the Journal of Counseling Psychology (APA), the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Identity, the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, the Journal of Homosexuality, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Podcasting: John is the founder of Mormon Stories Podcast, the most popular and longest running podcast within Mormonism.  He is also the co-host of The Gift of the Mormon Faith Crisis podcast, which is dedicated to supporting Mormons who are transitioning away from either Mormon orthodoxy, or Mormonism altogether.

Private Practice: John’s private coaching practice, also focusing on religion and mental health, can be found here.  John’s wife, Margi Dehlin, is also a life transitions coach.

Non-Profit Work: John is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Open Stories Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to “To promote understanding, healing, growth, and community for people experiencing or impacted by religious transition.”  The OSF produces podcasts, events, and support communities for progressive and post-Mormons.

Technology Background: Prior to obtaining his Ph.D., John worked for seven years at Microsoft Corporation, and three years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Director of the International OpenCourseWare Consortium.

Media Coverage: John’s research and podcasting work have been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio, ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC’s Nightline, HBO’s Vice News Tonight, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, VH1, and RadioWest.  John’s TEDx talk can be found here.  John’s work was also featured in HBO’s feature documentary film “Believer” starring Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn.

Contact: For matters concerning Mormon Stories Podcast, John can be reached at  For media, collaboration, speaking, or coaching engagement, email John at:

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  1. Can really relate to your cause. It takes courage to confront the stereotypes branded around as truths. Keep up the fantastic work, especially in helping struggling Mormons be at peace with their personal views. It is my dream that someday the church will evolve and become more accepting, more open of the past.

    1. I’m not really good at this, so I hope this message goes to John Dehlin. I have not been mormon for over twenty years. I ended up loosing myself to find myself. Anyway, I’m a believer, but I am done with religions. I do not believe in the man who lived two thousand years ago than I believe in you or myself. Anyway, many people I associate with believe in that man and believe in bibles. I want to play some of your podcast for these people, especially ones like the “Moma-Dragons podcast. I believe there are some great messages in your podcast which could help traditional orthodox christians understand LGBTQ people better. However, I believe there are a couple nuances of mormonism in that podcast which give me pause in playing it for them. Is there a way to make mormonstories generic and or inclusive for other religions. In other words, many of the issues I see in mormonism, I also see in many if not all religions. Also, I believe other cultures/religions have culturalistics which mormonism could benefit from and likewise mormonism has some culturalistics which other cultures could benefit from. For example, christian religions say the bible does not say anything about smoking, therfore it is not a sin to smoke; yet many christian do not smoke. The thing I like about traditional christians is whenI ask them what motivates them to serve homeless people, a comon response is that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and so it is nothing for them to make a little sacrifice for less fortunate. Also, christian baptize and pray for people without baptizing them into their religion. At most they might tell the person to find a good bible based church to attend. Last memorial Day, I was at a local city park and a motorcycle biker church group was having a barbique, so I wandered over to hang around for a few minutes just to see and hear. A fellow waring biker leathers came to me and asked me if he could pray for me. I said sure; so he put his hand on my shoulder and said something to the effect: god, you know this man’s needs, bless him with whatever his needs are, in Jesus name, Amen. I thought that wass the neatest prayer I’ve ever experienced. Anyway, thank you for doing mormon stories podcast. Sincerely, Jay Larsen

    2. Gilbert Gipp Redd

      Hi I grew up in Blanding Utah. I am Navajo. I left at the age of 17. It was because I am gay. I experienced the shame and hatred back then. It was 1989. I stopped believing at age 12. I was not liked by my foster dad because I was gay and enffeminnt. I hated how everything was one sided! I didn’t like boy scouts or any of the activities! I withdrew. I always left after sacrament meeting! The bishop followed me one Sunday. I left at age 17 and was scared for life. I am 46 now and love your podcasts. It is helping me deal with what I went through.

    3. Interesting comment Guest 1, it begs the question: Why would anyone want an organization built on lies and deceit and false doctrine to evolve? If it is indeed false, as it seems clearly to be the case; wouldn’t you want the organization/financial empire to disband? I am not LDS, nor have I ever been, but I have close friends who were. I have attended, and know more than a little about the LDS Church, which like many other religious organizations, is so obviously a cult, which employs mind-control. Yes, it offers social connections for members, and other benefits, but at a very high price, in my humble opinion.

      1. What is the high price? I’m happily LDS. I see the hypocrisy, mistakes, and incongruences (which are part of the human condition, not just religion), but I also see the beauty and goodness. To me you seem to be just as indoctrinated in your own worldview that organized religions/cults are universally bad. Then don’t join one dude, but why tear down those who are happily religious? The church does a lot of charitable giving and service all around the world. It does a lot of good for both members and non-members. It’s far from perfect, because people are far from perfect, and it’s made up of people. People are evolving, humanity is evolving. Of course the LDS church and any other faith, should continually develop and improve and do better.

    4. John,
      I really enjoy your Podcasts, especially Margi’s recent contributions. Although we all, Mormon, non-Mormon, or trasitioning folk experience challenges in life; it seems that Mormons, and even ex-Mormons, for the most part, have intact support systems in place; something even more important as we age, and survive the deaths of relatives and friends. An LDS friend of thirty years who recently died at the ripe of age of 97 had an amazing circle of loyal life-long friends, all members of the LDS Church. Something it would seem difficult to replicate without active membership in several organizations, and/or the persuit of various people -centered interests, continued education and/or volunteering.

      I appreciate the perspectives you bring to light, John. From a distance, I have always admired what appear to be the ‘clean living ‘ aspects of Mormonism, but always found it impossible to swallow the ‘whole package deal’ of church attendence and/or membership. While the social aspects are attractive the doctrine flaws are obvious and many, some aspects of Mormon culture seem almost foreign to those not born into the faith. I have been to wards, where almost everyone seemed to be related to everyone else, a bit intimidating for an outsider.

      I am attempting to incorporate much of your wisdom into my own life. Even, though I have never met you, or Margi, your warmth sincerity, and openess comes across; I think of you as close friends, I have never had the pleasure of meeting. Your practice seems ever evolving, the down-to-earth open approach benefits all , allowing us to glean gems that fit our individual circumstances. Thank you for making a difference in people’s lives.

  2. Hi John, I just wanted to say that I saw your video on YouTube about why people leave the church and you were spot on. I mean it was me to a tee. I left about 4 years ago when I stumbled upon all of the things you mentioned. For me it started with the stone in the hat, but I dug until I found all of what you listed and a few things more. Having felt duped, I was reluctant to join another church–like you said, will you really find a better one? But you see for me it was more important to know the truth, than find a church. so I investigated Christianity in the same way. I read Bart Eherman, I watched theologians debate atheists. I read Dawkins and Hitchens. I read the History of God, and Did Man Create God? It turns out that Christianity is plagued by the same historical problems as Mormonism, as is Judaeism, and Islam. It seems man created the monotheistic god, just as he did the polytheistic gods before him. Religion is all man made. Now there may be a god, goddess, or higher power, but these religions have no claim to authoritive truth. whatever god or power out there must prefer to remain a mystery. I’ve learned it is perfectly okay not to have all the answers, and I would rather have good answers that I’m not sure about, than fairy tales that I “know” are true.

    1. Thanks for your reply, David. I was touched by what you said. I am trying to gain the courage to tell my wife that I am agnostic. I can’t shake the feelings that I’ve experienced about religious topics (BofM, priesthood, etc) and I don’t know where to put these if God doesn’t or “maybe” exists. No one in my family understands what I’m going through and continue to give me arguments that stretch to reach truth, more often leading to “I know because of the Spirit,” or “the philosophies of men” or “you’re in sin” and most recently was told that I’m acting like I’m a victim by choosing not to believe all of the brethren’s words because I feel like I’ll be led astray like the Willy Handcart company.

  3. John, I watched your video on why people leave the church and as David said in the previous message…Spot On! I’m a convert to the church and had read the scriptures since I was 11 years of age. After about 5 years of being a member of the church I just started to grow a little edgy about the corporate feel to coming to church. I would find the attitude of recruitment to the organization a little disturbing. I spent time as a stake missionary, Seventy, ward mission leader and in the stake mission presidency and it seemed more about numbers than people. This wasn’t the Christianity that I read about and desired. Because of something you said in that video made me glad that I’ve not walked away. It’s to make it better. I’ve heard the attitude come across the pulpit at times that the church doesn’t need you, you need the church. Well, I beg to differ. I need Christ and Christ wants me.

  4. Hi John, Also watched your videos – interview with Shawn McCraney and why people leave the church. I was born in the church. My mom’s ancestors crossed the plains, my dad was a convert. I fell in love with a non-mormon at BYU and followed him out of the country to his own in South America. Fast forward 20 years and I have been inactive ever since and explored Re-Evaluation counseling, spiritual healing, Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba, Siddha Yoga, reading books about the many incarnations of Jesus and the Ascended Masters. Currently have a Catholic Jungian mentor who told me leaving my church was a mistake. I agree – I miss the community. I wouldn’t want to lose what I have learned, but community is important. Thank you for the work you do, it is the process of evolution and I applaud you. You are an intellectual and spiritual super-hero!

  5. Hi John, I posted the comment with same name “Guest2” on 8/11/12. Just had to come back and say that my previous comment where I stated leaving the church was a mistake, was a comment I made during a time of intense personal growth (something I am currently going through). Leaving the church was inevitable for me. The next group I got involved with and referenced was a cult (Re-Evaluation Counseling)and ironically, the founder of this group was deceptive and told lies. It helped me for a time because I needed the safety of a box. Now I am only finding highly evolved humans and reading works written about and by enlightened beings – or those close to it. I have no idea how or why I am finding these teachers because my life is very normal and full of hardships. However, I think we leave the confines of a box when all signs point to us needing a bigger box – or no box at all. This has been my progression. Dark nights of the soul will come, but as I am sure you know, it is all part of the process. I have no doubt that you are being guided every minute of every day and that you will always make the right decisions for everything you do and say. I would like to share with you the name of someone who has written the most inspiring, entralling 18 part biography I have ever read: Lopsang Rampa. All the best!

  6. John,
    Mormon stories resonates with a wide spectrum of believers, those who hang on and those who have left…but I have seen a shift in the podcast that leans to a stronger “churchy” flavor. No doubt you have developed some relationships with those beyond the rank and file….I hope the church can find a middle way – I have severe doubts about that happening although I feel you are helping. My question is….why did you not post the Tom Phillips interview to the website. To me that was the quintessential interview. Wow! I speculate that it was let out the back door for a reason….thank you You’ve got me scratching my head. I served as a Bishop for 6 years and a number of other key positions in leadership….during this interview I laughed, cried and felt the rage of the issues. I had read his story on the board but that did not effect me like hearing Tom in this live interview. I’ve listened to all the mormon stories and ME podcasts (I miss John Larsen)….this interview was by FAR my favorite…it really resonated for me….and I’m not alone here.

    Thank you for all you do
    I would love to get Toms email if thank him for his contributions

  7. Hello –

    Just want to thank you for the interview with Bill Reel. (I question the propriety, or maybe wisdom, of so much ecclesiastical intrusion into personal sexual matters, but….) Thank you for asking questions politely, listening, clarifying, asking the follow-ups, and giving the discussion adequate time. I would love to see more like this.

  8. I like the show John- but after listening to a few podcasts I notice that you sometimes lead the guests – for instance after a question you sometimes say something like “I hope you’re going to say X” or in interviews where you want the guest to answer questions in a way that mostly pleases your personal needs when it comes to social and doctrinal doubts. “Tell me you felt some kind of moral outrage in the 1960’s towards such and such situation” when your guest most likely didn’t. Just ask the questions and let the answers fly. Nonetheless I think you are a good man and have a sincere and honest heart- God Bless you.

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  12. Carolyn Higdon

    I totally agree with you! I am a Convert to LDS 1976. I am a Mormon but could not accept some of it’s doctrine
    I guess you could call me an inactivate member and I converse directly to God and get my answers quickly. Again thank you

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  14. Jaime Rodriguez

    Hello John:

    I’ve been listening to you and your colleagues for a while but have never posted a comment; however, after hearing of the recent events regarding the Church’s disciplinary council I’ve decided to speak out and let you know that I support you and what you stand for. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  16. A woderfully concise perspective in favor of the common sense approach. For me, the answer is to accept the great mystery.

  17. I applaud you for talking out about the lack of support for all in the community, not just the ones who toe the line. Every teaching I have ever heard or read about Christ was his preaching regarding unconditional love for our fellow human beings. Too bad most fundamentalist religions conveniently ignore this fact.

    Religion is not for all, only those who will mindlessly follow doctrine because they don’t have the courage to think for themselves.

    God bless you and your gallant efforts to be inclusive.

  18. I love your take. My little bro severed his mission in Guatemala as well . He’s a TBM. He thinks I’m wrong for leaving the church. I support your Stance.
    David Love

  19. Thank you for standing up for all Mormons. I am a bisexual Mormon who recently came out to my branch president. My spouse (who is also Mormon) is transgender. We are both converts to the church. I was listening to NPR the other day and I heard your story. I’ve listened to your podcast and I love it. I would love to have a conversation with you sometime. Thank you, again, for being so awesome.

  20. Julienna Viegas-Haws


    I am officially still a member of the Church who lives in Switzerland. I am going trough a crisis of faith which started about a month ago, has been very intense and I am currently leaning towards having my name removed but I’ll give it more time and thoughts (at least getting through the stages of grief). I am 37 and have been a member my whole life…

    The reason I am writing is because I tried to comment on the Fiona and Teryl Givens podcast “The God Who Weeps” but couldn’t… So here is a few thoughts I had because I pretty much thought like them prior my crisis of faith.

    I am at your disposition if you have questions. Thank you.

    Julienna Viegas-Haws

    Here is my quick review of the Fiona and Teryl Givens podcast:

    Both their thinking is obviously well constructed and there is nothing to refute, it is how they feel based on their research and experiences. I would go as far as saying that I thought almost exactly like them prior to knowing what I know now. There is very little they say (except for personal life experiences) that I haven’t heard or thought before, especially with the Enoch episode of God weeping and the “Help thou mine unbelief” narratives. (I am not being arrogant when I say this, I really had the same way of thinking and explaining the gospel).

    Although I didn’t join the Church at 19 like Fiona–I was 4 when my mother joined the Church in Belgium–I relate to Fiona because before BYU I went to Catholic private schools in Belgium growing up (the lone Mormon among them). I have been exposed to all sorts of people, cultures and religions which automatically expands your world view. I was also wowed by the beautiful spirit the missionaries carried (simply because they were good people striving to do good every minute of their lives). I worked for the Church in Belgium before my mission, I served a mission on Temple Square, met lots of general authorities before, during and after my mission–whom I still respect and admire in many ways. I had a wonderful time at BYU, almost the same story as theirs, meeting my husband in an international politics class, etc. Then lived “blissfully” ever after as a member of the Church until my current crisis of faith. Now don’t get me wrong, I may be struggling with redefining my spiritual foundation but I am not unhappy at all! I am above and beyond blessed and l live in gratitude every day of my life. It could be a luxury that I have time to have a crisis of faith because I don’t have any other major trials in my life right now…

    My conclusion after listening to this heart warming podcast is that they have almost word for word the idealistic view of the Church I used to have. Good for them if that is what they feel is right for them.

    Unfortunately, that idealistic vision of the Church they portray is too far from the reality of how the Church functions today (again I exclude their personal experiences, we all have our own).

    Let me explain from a few things they say (I took a few notes as I was listening where I mentally objected):

    Fiona says in passing about one of her discoveries that it was “like a seminary student discovering that Joseph Smith used a stone and a hat to translate” I wish she’d gone further in explaining how that was like because to me it is not something to lightly set aside as if it were nothing that the Church never really portrayed Joseph Smith like that, to me that is brushing away the deception…
    She says “one mustn’t be disappointed in learning of Joseph Smith flaws and mistakes”. Really?! I’m sorry but if I learn that the man I trusted, followed and defended was a child abuser, I can’t help but be disappointed. I may eventually forgive him but my vision of him will be altered. For me a leader is supposed to have above average standards of morality and not the other way around.
    She says “our religion is so inclusive!” Really?! Maybe in theory but I don’t see it in real life… Inclusive as far as you do everything you are told and pay your membership dues.
    She says the early saints were “universalists,” that is why they were attracted to Joseph Smith’s gospel. Maybe they were universalists, I wasn’t there to ask but my gut feelings tells me that just like today the gospel provided a way out of their misery and poverty, the church promised to fulfil their basic spiritual, social and psychological needs and maybe a roof and some food. It is the same today! Very few intellectuals join the Church. Unless you were born in the Church and became an intellectual (whether you like to be called that or not) and learned to make both work (again because your spiritual, social and psychological needs are met and constantly reinforced) they are very few intellectual converts. The majority of converts are people struggling at different levels hoping for something better out of their lives. Of course we all struggle in life but my point is that poverty whether spiritual or physical is what brings people in the Church most of the time. That is the reason why my mother joined the Church. I don’t deny that the Church saved her, probably saved me too… But I am diverging.
    When it comes to religion, Fiona says and I quote “I’m not a fan of knowledge” because it distract from the spiritual… That is a very confusing statement to me given the “glory of God is intelligence” and if you type knowledge in the scriptures search engine you can see the importance God gives to it… Maybe she meant secular knowledge but even then I would have to disagree with her statement, but I respect the fact that it is the way she feels.
    At the end of the interview Teryl G. separates history (from men) and theology (from God) asserting that basically one should focus on theology more than history. Ok, but then can’t we just have God and Jesus Christ without Joseph Smith? Because I can guarantee you that except for a few authentic Joseph Smith ideas, I can find many of the great ideas he combined in other philosophers, theologians, great thinkers and writers who came before and after him… He was just brilliant at combining it all and add his own flavor to it. Neither Teryl nor Fiona mention once the current need of a prophet in their exposé — isn’t that a major fundamental tenet of the LDS faith? If all we have to do is hang on to God and Jesus Christ then it does not require being a member of the LDS Church. I know they believe it all and sustain the prophet. However, what I see in the the book “The God Who Weeps” from what they say about it (I haven’t read it yet and may or may not read it because they are just asserting what I already understood and believed before) is an idealistic universalist representation of our Church which is beautiful but does not match the reality of our Church today.

    I could go on but I’ll stop here, just my thoughts.

  21. Jacklyn Anderson

    John, I just want to thank you for this work you are doing. I have discovered Mormon Stories just lately and I can’t stop listening because the interviews are so fascinating. Finally people have a place to speak out without feeling a mountain of guilt for thinking outside the box of standard official Mormon thought. One thing I have been looking for on your site is someone who can speak to women in my stage of life. I was a stay-at-home mom for 30 plus years while raising six children. Somehow I found time to finish my BA degree during those years but now that I would like to move on from that to further education I find myself so heavily involved in the care of my elderly father that I don’t have the time for it and I am feeling very resentful. Plus the church doesn’t seem to know what to do with women my age and I really don’t want to teach primary. I also feel there are not dynamic women role models in the church leadership for women of any age. I must add that my husband is very supportive of anything I do.
    Thanks, again for your courage!

  22. I am not LDS, but Presbyterian. Your candor and curiosity for the truth is refreshing. Can you say if you’ve had any disciplinary action?

  23. Hey John,
    Possible podcast idea. I’m sure it’s one that’s been discussed.
    Revisiting the past interviewees. A where are they today. New perspectives and knowledge gained from the past years. Are they in a better place, where they planned or expected to be.

  24. I am a licensed MFT in Omaha NE. I am bic, served a mission to Japan in 77/78, and left the church after getting married in the temple and fathering 5 children in 8 years. I officially resigned my membership in 2006, along with 2 of my 3 sons. My oldest daughter, the only practicing Mormon of the brood, is going through her own faith crisis right now, and were growing closer than we’ve ever been.

    John, I am keenly interested in joining your team to create a supportive progressive Mormon community in the Omaha area. If possible, I want to be a part of leadership retreat you are planning for the coming months. Please respond to this post and let me know how to share my contact information and how to otherwise proceed.

    1. John, I would like to contact Daniel Pont. He added to your blog on 1/2/2015. I think we went to college together at Brigham Young starting in 1974 and used to play music together. Any help you might offer in the way of helping me contact him would be great!

      Joanne (Jo) Eveland

  25. I appreciate your courage and honesty in sharing your journey. It’s been a big support for me. I’m trying to meet with the provo support group. There’s a link on this website, but when I click on it I’m redirected to Facebook and I keep getting a “page not found” message. Do you have the contact information for the person or people who head this group. I’d like to find out if they meet and where and when. Thanks so much! Rachel

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  28. I recently heard your podcast on NPR. Thank you for your words. Several years ago, I converted to the LDS faith, but, overtime, become increasingly disturbed by the issuses involving historical inaccuracies, women, people of color, and GLBT concerns.
    Last year, when my 25 year old son came out as a bisexual, I stopped attending church. I couldn’t support the “love the sinner hate the sin” mentality of the teachings. At this point, I felt like an abolitionist, who was a member of the Klu Klux Klan. In addition, some church members who actively participated in the overturning of Proposition 8 in California further alienated me.
    Officially I am still a member, but I only attend service related activities. I so appreciate your braveness in coming forward on issues that need to be addressed with in this church.
    Thank you,
    Margaret Dove

  29. John congrats for your bravery, and honesty. I left the church 25 years ago and as my new spiritual teacher councils ” just because you are excommunicated from the church doesn’t mean you are excommunicated from God!!!” That was such a healing knowledge for me.

  30. John,

    It’s comforting to see someone else struggling with the same issues that i have for 12 years now. I left the church when i was deployed in 2009. As with any deployment you have a lot of time to think. I explored each sect of Christianity and how I truly felt about the subject of Mormonism. After a couple months of research, soul searching and praying I could no longer follow a religion that supports relegating women to inferior roles as well as the track record of the LDS church. I still hold many of the values that the church instilled in me but do so outside the church. Thank you for your honesty and I will continue following your website.


  31. Hi I wrote you earlier about encouraging you to leave a place Utah ,that is so judgmental and rejecting of you ,I know there are places like Oregon where you would be appreciated and accepted
    but now I really want you to continue your podcasts because they help me so much I haven’t seen any podcast since your excommunication podcast I hope there are some coming soon

  32. I love that you encourage others to embrace science instead of distancing it from their spiritual beliefs. I left the LDS church and I almost stopped believing in God all together. The one moment in my whole life that kept me believing was a feeling of peace, love, and comfort I had when I was 16. Thinking back to that moment as an adult I realized that the church wasn’t going to prove itself to me so why have faith in it; and why was I having faith in a man made organization instead of God himself? I am grateful for the people of the church who taught me how to pray and what faith is and that I have a creator who loves me unconditionally. However I will never go back to church because of the psychological damage they have done. I will wake up some mornings feeling guilty for absolutely no reason, it almost tore my marriage apart, and it had me believing God wasn’t answering my prayers (to help save my marriage) because I wasn’t paying tithing(my husband was unemployed and we couldn’t afford food, but whenever I interviewed with the bishop he would encourage me to pay tithing and never bring up the church’s food bank….lol every week I had to go to another church for food and I once had to take a roll of toilet paper and ritz crackers from my work). Anyway, I just wanted to say that the church may have excommunicated you, and they say that your name is forgotten in heaven, but know that I don’t believe that one bit! God knows what you’re doing is helping his children understand their Father more fully. And just remember….Jesus was rejected by his own kind too.😉

  33. Hi John. Just thought I would share how much I appreciate your stories and sharing your support of the LGBT community. When I was 14 I left the church and mainly because of 2 reasons. The first being that my questions recieved many different answers until I was finally told that I didn’t need to know the answer to the questions that I had. Second, was because one of my closest friends was gay. He wa very open and was bullied and tormented by not only the students but by members of the staff at school – including the vice principal who happened to be a Mormon bishop. I felt so ashamed of my part in the mormon church. I cried and pleaded with my parents not to force me to attend church any more because I felt so wrong in doing so. They reluctantly agreed and while I tried in adult hood to go back I can never shake that feeling that it’s not right. The last time I attended an LDS church I sat and listened to 2 ladies in the choir bad mouthing another member of the choir to the point I felt I had to speak up and tell them how mortified I was as an observer of the church and left mid service despite being there with and in support of family (Missionary Farewell). That is my story – thanks again for sharing your story.

  34. Hi John, I am writing from Seoul, Korea, a convert to LDS from 1979 for 35 years, our family moved to the U.S. and served my mission in Korea, now I live in Hawaii and in Korea. I thought I was the only one left the Church until I found your stories and other ex Mormon online community.

    Thank you for your courage and your braveness in coming forward on issues that need to be addressed.

    God is with each one of us, and his Gospel is true indeed!. True power of Christ will reveal all truth!. I am learning more about LDS church and Freemason connection. It is fascinating. Thank you.

  35. Hey John,
    I recently became a fan of your podcast through my partner. He is a pretty avid listener, and he comes home talking about your podcasts and interviews. I found the subject matter to be quite fascinating. We both are LGBT Post Mormon, and have been together for almost three years now. I work nights for a local company, and I dont usually have a lot to occupy my attention. I usually either listen to music or comedy albums. After my partner introduced me to your podcast I went and downloaded the very first few episodes of Mormon Stories. I became quite an admierer just listening to your first couple podcasts. I found so many parallels wiith your own mission experiemce and my own. I served in New Mexico, and spent a majortity of my time on the Navajo reservation. I also felt as if my own mission experience was primarily based on numbers, and also had missionaries picking up small kids on Sundays and taking them to church and baptizing them. I’ve really enjoyed your coverage of the LGBT issues and policies in the church. I’m really grateful that there are people out there like you that support and uplift post mormons and people within the LGBT commuinty. You’ve also helped bring together so many of them and creating support networs for these individuals. Thank you! I just wanted to reach out and tell how much I appreciate what you do, and how awesome I think you are.

  36. You do good work, and I think you acquit yourself admirably in public–especially in regard to your excommunication. I have been a long-time fan of your podcasts. I must admit, however, that I sometimes feel your guests dance around the periphery of relevance. Most podcasts, while extremely interesting and well-produced, never come close to effectively addressing the critical epidemiological questions inherent in religious belief. For example, objective evidence supporting Mormonism (or Christianity, for that matter) appears to be ultimately inconclusive. Therefore, it comes down to a single question: Is there any rational basis for concluding that the so-called “spiritual witness” championed in Mormon theology is anything other than a simple emotional response to religious stimuli which has nothing whatsoever to do with a power outside one’s own mind? Without first answering this question, what’s really the point of discussing anything else about either Mormonism or Christianity? If the efficacy of the spiritual witness isn’t supportable with a compelling argument, anything we do or discuss in regard to Mormonism is just straightening deck chairs on HMS Titanic. I, for one, would appreciate a more intellectually rigorous approach to questions of ultimate reality in future programming. Not mini-graduate courses, but something that sheds more light on philosophical reasons to believe (or disbelieve) in this peculiar institution known as Mormonism. Am I alone?

  37. Thanks you of showing us what the church really like. As a open gay mormon it make me how long before I am kick out of the church . My Stake prest hates the LBGT people and stop me going to the temple . I can not and stop being me

  38. Devon Bartolomei

    Thank you for all you do. Your personality, insight and view of the church as well as the world around us has helped me on my new journey to find greater peace. I reached a milestone yesterday by typing a letter to the church and submitting it through my bishop to have my name removed. After months of pain and struggle, I feel at peace to be able to leave it behind me and move on. Thank you so much for being a help in making that possible.

  39. Sarah Bartholomew

    I just started listening to your podcast today. I was raised LDS and have had a recent crisis of faith. Listening to the 13 years of silence episode has really helped.

    1. The podcast by Tom Phillips helped me when I first started my transition. I would recommend that one. Also good luck, and there is a lot of support if you need it.

  40. John Dehlin, I received the following email from Judith Mehr. Please consider what is best to do with her story. Stan Larson, retired from the University of Utah library.

    “Dear Stan,

    Thanks so much for your comments on my Op-ed and that bit about being a
    missionary during the time before the ban was lifted. I can also a
    remember a time at BYU where I argued fiercely in favor of the Church,
    trying to defend that ban, with a student who was visiting from Arizona
    State University. The more I tried to explain the Church’s position the
    more I started to realize that the position was untenable. Wow, talk
    about a trial of faith that caused in me.

    But, fast-forward to now, yes, I hope to talk more about my feelings
    concerning the gay issue and Church policies in the future. I will
    consider doing interviews if asked and we shall see where that goes. But,
    thanks again for your comments.

    Judith Mehr

  41. First, love your podcast.
    I’m not a mormon, I don’t know any mormons, I’m actually not even religious, so why in the last few weeks have I been bingeing your podcast? It’s because I’ve always been curious, and not wanting to offend anyone, to understand the what, why and how people believe in Mormonism. Thanks to your podcast I now have a better understanding and, if this makes sense, I’m less ‘afraid’ and judgmental of people who choose to be Mormon. I enjoy your format, guests, and your ability to explain in a very clear middle ground sort of way the background and it’s inner workings
    I do have a question and I hope you might have time to answer. I was visiting a friend in Langley, British Columbia Canada and saw this huge, what I thought, Church. I assumed it was a Catholic Church and was shocked to find out it is a new Mormon Temple. I think I know why they choose this location; the cost of land more affordable and the new bridge makes getting from Vancouver easier and close to the boarder for Americans.
    I was wondering if you knew the membership size and also, with all that is going on, how the ‘church’ could afford to build such a humongous structure?
    I thank you in advance for any information you might share. *it also might make an interesting podcast episode.

  42. I am looking forward very much to the episode/series (you mentioned in the May 2016 update with Clay Christiansen) about missionaries who returned early or lost their faith while serving a mission, and continued on, necessarily lying, in order to serve as a missionary while doubting or not having a testimony.
    This is basically my story, so thank you for all you do to make the podcast.
    -Randy M

  43. First, and foremost, John, I want to applaud you for your life’s work and this amazing website. Although not a Mormon, I’ve grown up with Mormons in Arizona, and have had work colleagues and Mormon friends over the years, which compelled me to study your faith. As many “born in the Covenant” Mormons would say, I am a 5th generation Episcopalian (as my “denomination”), and first and foremost a devout Christian in love with Jesus Christ. What amazes me in reading many of the heart-wrenching stories of transitioning Mormons, or Ex-Mormons, is how they feel lied to about the Book of Mormon and/or by the teachings of the church and of the founder, Joseph Smith. Additionally, the LDS church culture dictates and prescribes excommunication in a cold, judicial-like manner which rips at the faith of the believer, castigating that human and their family out of the pastoral community separating them from fellow believers. How can that even come close to being Christ-like? I have even personally known the son of a prominent Newspaper artist who is an Ex-Mormon, and when asked if he ever found another church or faith, I got a negative head shake. It is grievous to learn that many transition to Aetheism (which IS throwing the baby out with the bath water) because they feel betrayed. I have prayed for years that that a brand NEW revelation would come about to the LDS President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator that there truly never was an Apostasy or Great Restoration in the early 1800’s after all, and that the Christian faith is, for all time and eternity, as it was once delivered, in its purest form, by Jesus Christ to the Twelve Apostles, carried forth by the greatest of missionaries, St. Paul, demonstrating the real truth lies solely between Genesis and Revelation. The “lie” will then become the “real truth” and the love of God will truly reign overall — there will not be any need for excommunication, and the wonderful family values and tenets of the LDS faith can be opened up to all of Christendom, as will all the LDS Mormons worldwide be opened up to the true inclusive love of Jesus Christ. I can imagine how powerful that outpouring of love from the Holy Spirit will be upon this earth when that day comes to pass. Wishing you countless blessings and thanks on behalf of all of those lives out there, known and unknown, that have been so positively affected by your work and love.

  44. Frederick Davidson

    Hi John, Thank you for your podcast and efforts to help those of us whose faith is more complicated. I only started listening recently (and still pretty secretly…), and I found an old episode from January 2006 about Fowler’s stages of faith (Episodes #015-107, with Tom Kimball and Dan Wotherspoon). I really enjoyed the discussion and found that it described exactly my personal faith quandaries in the LDS church. As I listened to those old episodes, it struck me that the discussion was prior to all of the events of the past couple of years (your very public excommunication, Kate Kelly and Ordain Women, “The Policy” on kids of LGBT couples, etc.). The tone seemed optimistic, and I couldn’t help but wonder whether that optimism remains after all that has happened. I would love to hear you revisit Fowler’s stages of faith with Dan and Tom, considering these more recent events. Personally, the recent events have made me feel far more entrenched in Stage 4, leaning far more towards agnosticism or straight-up atheism, and Stage 5 seems like wishful thinking. I find myself wondering, what is the point of faith (even in stage 5 or 6) if the stage 3 church organization purges anyone in 4, 5 or 6 from its congregations. Have the events of recent months destroyed any hope for us stage 4 people to co-exist with those within the church who are at stage 3? How do those of us in stage 4 manage the hostility from the mainstream church? I feel like this hostility that I feel that the mainstream church and my ward has toward me has only been retrenched, fortified and institutionalized — almost canonized. So I’ve gone under ground. Are my only choices to try and delude myself back into stage 3 or to stay in hiding? Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks, and throw out this suggestion for a future episode. I’d love to hear the three of you revisit the stages of faith discussion.

  45. Dear John,

    I am 71 years old and joined the church when I was 16 in 1962. I served a mission in Alberta and Saskatchewan when I was 19, went to school in Cedar City and graduated in 1970. I moved back to Canada and obeyed the church’s policy … got married when I was gay… and six years later my wife passed away in Utah with Cancer. Their policy did not work. I was still gay. My two daughters were 5 and 3 years old. Although I married again which ended in divorce, I basically raised my girls alone while I was teaching school in Switzerland. I lived there 15 years. My life has included many things which I would be happy to share with you if you are interested. I am in the process of writing my life story for my two daughters… both of whom are active in the church. If it is good enough, I will publish it. One of my daughters has supported her husband in a stake presidency. I moved back to Canada in 1998 and was excommunicated from the church in 2002 for breaking the law of chastity. In 2004 I was legally and lawfully married to my same sex spouse, David. We will soon be married 13 years. I believe I am the only person who has been baptized in the church that has been married so long… legally. After being exed I did not attend church for four years. I then decided to start attending, first in Nova Scotia, and then in British Columbia where I live presently. On November 5, when the new policy came out, I was not certain about staying active. I decided that if all the gay people stopped attending there would be nobody left to show that we are there… so I go faithfully each week. My bishop and stake president allow me to give my testimony in church and I have an unofficial home teacher. I have 8 grandchildren… all active, 3 foster grandchildren, and two step grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter is to be married in the temple on March 25, 2016. She is in her last year of medical school and will start her residencies after her temple wedding. My oldest grandson is serving his mission in Greece. Unlike many, I have maintained that the leaders over the past have made mistakes, but that does not take away from the divinity of their calling. We all make mistakes, and if the brethren make them too… I am so thankful, for if such good men can make them, it certainly gives me more hope as well. I put my faith in Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father to one day reveal to the leaders what they must do to allow ALL of Heavenly Father’s children have a place in His church. My life has spanned the church’s many policies and changes concerning gays, so I have learned that one thing that is certain is that nothing is certain. I believe it is why I have so much faith that it will change again one day… most likely when I am gone. In the mean time I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who would perhaps not be active if the new policy had come out when they were younger, and I have been able to find the love of my life who has helped e to have more faith in myself and understand that I could be faithful to one man… and not need to resort from casual sex so that nobody would know I was gay and therefore raise my girls in the church. I hope to hear from you and if my story will help others to have faith and be strong… then I will have accomplished my goal.

  46. Louise,

    I just read your comment about the temple in Langley, BC. since I live in that area, I can answer your question. There are 3 stakes or diocese in the Vancouver area. A Stake has about 2,000 members… it varies, so that would make about 6,000 members in the Vancouver area, but the temple in Langley serves all the members in BC and also those from northern Washington. The church has about 15,000,000 members World Wide, but only about half attend church (approx).

    The church pays for the temples with tithes paid by the members. Both chapels and temples are paid in cash when they are built. The faithful pay 10% of their income to the church and feel blessed to do so. If a member is in need, the church will help them and under the direction of the Bishop, the relief society will calculate the needs of the family in need. When I was on church welfare for 6 months when my wife was passing away… my bishop told me to keep paying my tithe… and the church would sustain me until I was back on my feet again. Church welfare is usually given on a temporary basis and the members are usually also helped to find a way to take care of themselves and be self sufficient.

    I hope this answers your question and that I was accurate in my message to you.

  47. Your mini-series on Mormon Missionaries is enlightening, but disturbing. I know the Mormon church is proud of their unique program. It is a cherished tradition and seen as essential for church growth (This needs to be rethought.) Yet the more I read, the more the program seemed closer to being enlisted for military service then being called traditional missionary service. The ones you interviewed seemed to have been as emotionally beat up as those who serve in the military.

    What really got to me was when you asked your final questions and the ex-missionaries responded to what they had gotten from the program, and I realized most of the good experiences were the same ones that are often had by young people in Christian groups who take part in summer or short-term missions. The same benefits, but with much less pain. All I could think is what a waste.

  48. I would be interested in you doing a podcast or panel discussion on Mormons who transition into mainstreem/non-demonational Christianity. I think there might be a lot of us who have decided not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” so to speak. I know that Sandra Tanner is an example of this and I consider as role model. You were pretty hard on her at the end of your interview with her about her decision to become a Christian. I think it would be helpful to those of us struggling to reframe vocabulary and concepts that we thought of in certain terms but are finding out that those concepts are not Biblical or truly Christian. Getting rid of the baggage that ex-Mormons carry in with them when searching out a Christian Church is a struggle but one that I and other ex-Mormons can find fulfilling. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Keep up the good work.

  49. Just listening to podcast with RadioWest which includes section on Mormon Church’s attempts to justify their policy regarding not baptizing or giving name and blessing to children of a parent in a same-sex relationships (podcast 584). When Church representatives claim that this is a policy motivated by love for the child and not wanting the child to be in a cognitively difficult situation of belonging to a church that teaches something different from the behaviors they see demonstrated by parents in their home — are we to assume that the Mormon Church will soon withhold blessings and ordinances from children of parents whose lifestyles or behaviors are in other ways inconsistent with Mormon doctrine? Will children of alcoholics or unmarried individuals no longer be permitted baptism? Will children be denied blessings if one or more parent is convicted of a serious crime? How can the LDS Church so disingenuously cloak this policy in language that tries to justify their policy as a move to protect children? I am still stunned by the LDS Church’s exclusion of children of same-sex parents (as well as being appalled by the treatment of their parents), but if LDS Church representatives are going to continue to endorse this policy, they should at the very least be more honest about motivations.

  50. Will you be doing a 3rd and 4th parts of Dr Thomas Murphy’s interview? I really value your work in helping people feel valuable regardless of theirtheir experiences and in your very sensitive interviewing techniques that allow many layers of their personal beliefs without judgmental “attacks”. This would be helpful for people of all faiths who are beginning to examine their own beliefs. You have mentioned your own sometimes fluctuating thoughts on spirituality. This is where my years of study have led me and if eel stronger in belief of “something external” existing now without ritualistic boundaries. My philosophy is just kindness, which has made me very happy! Keep up the affirming messages of hope and letting people they are not alone!

  51. Dear John, I want you to know how much your podcast and youtube videos mean to me. It has helped me explain why I can’t just “let go” to my nonmember husband and his extended family. My husband listened to a few and now realizes just how hard it is to leave. I have been gone for 30 years and my siblings still shun me because I left the church. I now know I am not alone and my reason made sense, not just an unbeliever with o testimony or faith I always loved ghost stories. I was told it was the occult and should not ever listen to any. I don’t believe them but still love them and realized that they were no more ridiculous than the religion I was told was true. Anyway you are doing so much good never stop giving a voice to all those who feel they have none.

  52. I hear a lot of stories about couples leaving the church (my husband and I are going through this), I would love to hear how people dealt with their children while and after going through this. We have a 14 year boy, a 9 year old girl and a boy that just turned 8. We were going to have our 8 year old baptized to help smooth the transition with my husbands family, but our bishop has asked us to take the missionary discussions and requested that we commit to bringing him to church every Sunday in order to have him baptized. As we are unwilling to lie and feel we are unable to make that commitment, he will not be baptized. Anyway, just wondering how other people are tackling this with their children. Thank you

  53. Dear John Dehlin,
    So many words so many stories so many shared life experiences from people of all walks of life and living different realities but yet coming together for one common purpose.
    As I search out a new path in life a detour off the straight and narrow as they call it, I am thankful that I came across Mormon Stories.
    As I listen to the words and understand the feelings I find a sense of comfort, realizing I don’t stand alone in the loneliness that I feel.
    Thankyou for Mormon Stories, a place where feelings can be shared and talked about, a place where questions can be asked and answers given a place of teaching and learning.
    Thankyou for Mormon Stories the words, the stories, the experiences the understanding and healing.

  54. Hi John

    I heard your announcement that you are looking for management help for the Open Stories Foundation 501c3. We should talk. I just retired in June from running a 501c3 for Boise State University for the past 11 years. I know fund raising, event management, board relations, grant writing on a global scale. I’m in Glacier Park right now and could meet you in Logan if you want to discuss.

    Leon Mayard

  55. John Dehlin

    I just watched/listened to your MS podcast with Greg Prince (Part 3) and I can’t hold my tongue.
    I found his language demeaning, arrogant, presumtuous and pejorative. Did I mention “Smug?” In essence, he is comparing those of us who have “bailed,” mindless lemmings and presented himself as a wannabe Hugh Nibly. Come’on now! How many LDS adult members have the time and resources to read (let alone own) a library of thousands of books on the Church, its history and doctrine, to arrive at the same conclusions as Mr. Prince? How nice for him!

    I left the Church twenty-two years ago, and as they say,”You can take the person out of the Church, but you can’t take the Church out of the person,” I have found the Church more fascinating after my leaving than when I was a member.
    I watched many MS podcasts, mostly those of ex and post Mormons, and they have brought me a sense of community in my heretofore “lone wolf” world. But in so many, I still wasn’t finding what I was listening for, that is, until Tom Phillips finally said it, “integrity.” And then, along came Amy and Jake Malouf, and Brian Dalton, integrity.
    I had “straws” that had been adding up for many years, mainly after I had been endowed in the Los Angeles Temple in the early eighties. (1980’s)
    Wait a minute! This was not what I signed up for. What’s wrong here and why were other Mormons having wonderful spiritual temple experiences when I thought everything was just too Masonic and weird? One evening, coming out of the temple,I watched the sun set over the Pacific as its light fell on the numerous playful bronze statues of mothers and fathers with their children and husbands and wives sharing loving embraces. I was a single woman and realized that there was no place for me in this familial setting. I sat down and burst into tears. My journey out of the Church began that night but it took me another ten years to make the break.
    I was teaching the Laurel class and the lesson on eternal marriage was next in line. I had been married to an abusive alcoholic narcissist for twenty one years and had stayed married because my patriarchal blessing promised me that if I “accepted every calling in righteousness, the desires of my heart would bring my loved one into the confines of the Church.” Now that I think of it, “confines” is a very powerful word. I could not teach my precious Laurel girls the promise of eternal marriage, a doctrine I could not believe in, and maintain my own integrity. That was the last straw on my pile. The pile consisted of things that clearly said to me, “This is not the God that I worship.
    The God that that I worship is the only God that should be exalted. I have been saying for a long time, that many Mormon men are practicing “premature exaltation.” The God that I worshipped was humble, like Jesus and didn’t need a twenty four million dollar temple on the most expensive real estate on the Southern California coastline.
    All of the historicity, polygamy, etc., were just nigglings. When the
    Church started to come between my being a member and my own integrity, it was a no-brainer which I would choose.

    Anyway, unlike, Greg Prince, I have better things to do than stroke my intellect and ego by endeavoring to “fix” yet another religious miscarriage. Thank you, Greg Prince, for sharing Harold B. Lee’s remark that “We are just men, trying to get the job done.” The Mormon Church and its people are promised a Prophet, Seer and Revelator and that’s what they expect and deserve. Why isn’t our prophet sitting down with Heavenly Father and having a conversation about the suicides and what to do about them? Huh? It’s pretty simple, at least from my vantage point. I was ecstatic not to have been a member during Prop 8 in California. I rejoiced at having left years before.

    Yes, since I left the LDS Church, I am happy just making it through each and every God-given day in the Pacific Northwest where He got a little carried away with his creative powers.

    John, Margi and team, thank you for Mormon Stories. They, and you, are important to me and I am sure to so many others. Keep up the good work. I will find a way to support the work.
    BTW, I think Sandra Tanner and Carol Lynn Pearson should be considered National Treasures.

    Elsa laBaw

  56. Even though, I quit drinking the cool-aid of mormondom years ago, I am convinced that cool-aid was very unhealthy for me and it took years of metaphoric vomiting to get it out of my system. Some of that verbal vomit is still on some floors and counters of people who knew me then. even though, I am not a military vet, a few years ago, I join a veteran organization as an associate member. I love the meetings, because they are therapy for me, in that many of the vets do not like the phrase “Thank you for your service” is like Bill Cosby or Donald Trump thanking their victims for what they, the victims experienced by trusting these men. My veteran friends do not feel they served; they feel they were used. Every time I hear my Vet friends describe their military machine, see a close resemblance to my experience with the mormon machine. As I share a few of my experiences with them, they see the comparison of their phisical and mental experiences with my mental and spiritual experiences. I would love to see mormon stories about PTSD and eclesiastical PTSD.

  57. John,

    I was wondering if you ever interview those of us that have never been members, but have been absolutely crushed by Mormonism? I asked the love of my life for a divorce in June of this year. It was the hardest thing I think I have ever done, and to this day, nearly six months later, I still question if I did the right thing saving myself, or if I should have continued to take the shunning and beating from all the family members that goes with being married to a Mormon.
    She was not a practicing Mormon when we met, and to be fair, I didn’t know as much about it as I thought I did. I learned quickly by looking to and other sources, mainly because I didn’t know any better.
    The truth behind everything, and in particular the polygamy issues were of great concern to me. I did try and talk about it, and my early attempts were clumsy and not nearly as loving as I should have been. I eventually agreed to be an “investigator” for her, and decided I would use it as an opportunity to ask questions, and hopefully in the witness of the woman I loved so much.
    If anything, it made things worse. I refused to allow the blow-off answers, and that began to cause a problem for her within her ward. Eventually, she did her temple classes, and began wearing garments, and that was like a death spiral for me. I grew up in a traditional main-stream Christian church, and so trying to deal with all of the separation that was being passively initiated, the shunning from her family, and the lack of respect from one of our step-children eventually because too much.
    I came home from a business trip after two weeks, and it was as if no one knew I was gone. It was then I realized that the woman I love so much, and the family I provided for, really had little use for me.
    This went on for awhile longer, and while attending one of my step-son’s being called to an office, I agreed to attend his blessing. At this point, this would have been about the sixth or seventh “family” blessing that I had attended, at the request of my wife. I had never been sure before if she was completely deaf to the things Mormons say in the open about non-members, or if she somehow thought it would shame me into it. For instance, I can not count the number of sacrament services I have attended with my ex-wife where someone would talk about how tragic it is not to have the priest-hood in the home. To someone who was raised in the culture, this may be a good tactic to being people in line. For a 40 year old man, with a lot of life experience, it was quite the opposite.

    Needless to say, there was an argument, and I drew a hard line and decided I had had enough. I felt like I was having panic attacks all the time, always angry and could see a very short future life. So I ended it. I miss her everyday, with every fiber of me. We had talked about, and I still believe, she is the one I was supposed to meet in my time here.

    I have been blessed with a fantastic support structure since, and none of it replaces how it felt to just hold her hand. It is crushing, and some days, I have even considered going back and saying whatever I needed to say just to be close to her again. Of course, I know where it would head, so I haven’t. But it is hard everyday. Again, I was not some rookie that didn’t have any life behind me. I had enough that I recognized how special she is.

    I think it is important for Mormons to know that the religion has an impact on everyone. Their nasty attitudes to outsiders ruins lives, not just members. I know academically that since I am not a member, that it really won’t matter to them, but shouldn’t that tell people something?

  58. Synnove Ellingsen

    I think Richard Bushman is a reliable historian. He does comment on the difference between professional historians and professional amateurs, of which the are many in history and also in other fields of study. The professional amateurs have done a great deal of bad in that issues have been confused and twisted from both sides. Therefore it is really necessary to understand the differences, like Bushman says..the sources and reliability of sources are so important. Professional amateurs in the past had very few reliable sources and now that pro historians are involved more and more, accurate material is becoming available. Amateurs are good for their enthusiasm and interest in a subject, but there is a limited understanding and it has been very unfortunate for all parties. From now on I think one must understand the different approaches and where the limits are for amateurs. I hope there would be a better understanding of this in the future. This way anti can refer to more reliable material and sources and make use of the updated material from professionals also inside the church, like Bushman, and those referring to reliable sources like Hales (although he himself is a professional amateur historian at the outset not being trained as an historian, he knows how to use source material and employed a professional historian to find sources, Don Bradley).

  59. I am confused. We have found that people truly have questions about their faith, historical or doctrinal. Both are very important and engrained in our brains since we were kids; but when we question privately we can’t get answers, when we question openly we face possible discipline. That said, people like Brian Hales , and FAIR tries hard to answer, I suppose, but then they get very personal,cruel, and very un-Christlike. Why are they not brought before tribunals? I personally believe they are more hurtful than helpful.

  60. Hi John,
    I’m having difficulty using the Ex-Mormon Communities map.
    I’d like to associate with others personally but was unable to click-on any of the ‘dots, squares in the vicinity of my area
    West, Jordan. I’d not object to traveling 20 mikes from there.
    Is there another way to access groups south of Salt Lake and north of Lehi?
    You were referred to me by my nephew who while studying at Harvard was a close friend of Gregg Epstein whose book “Good Without God” has impressed me.
    If possible please refer me to a local group.
    Sue Beyer
    6972 S Triumph Ln
    West Jordan, Ut 84084

  61. CharlieBrown2292


    Your intent to develop a balanced view on what is right and what is wrong about the LDS Church is not bringing the kind of peace and fulfillment that fully adhering to the principles and practices of the Gospel, as being taught by the Church’s First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, generates. Instead, you are dedicating your life and resources to planting seeds of doubt and disbelief in people’s hearts, that strip them from the happiness and stability they find through a full commitment to the Church. In replacement for the so-called enlightenment you are claiming to bring into their lives, you offer them an empty, lonely and meaningless life.

  62. Gordon McLaughlin

    I wish to send a positive but confidential message to John Dehlin –Are you able to provide me with his personal email address
    I am in the ministry of The Community of Christ, 91 years old, physically wearing a little, but hopefully in most other ways, still very much alive. I have in recent times with a group of friends listened to John,s interview of Steve Veazey-PARTS 1-2 & 3.
    All were not only excellent but of considerable value.

    Gordon McLaughlin 9 Balmoral Court Frankston South Victoria Australia Phone 03 59711527 Email

  63. Dear John and Margi,
    I’ve just discovered your treasure trove! My family and I resigned from the LDS church in 2003, so we’re further along in the journey, but then my husband and I are at least a decade older.

    Thank you so much for providing this collection! I haven’t been around Mormonism for well over a decade (except for funerals and family reunions), and I hadn’t realized how much is going on in the Mo Universe. Back in the early 2000s I was involved with and the Recovery Board, and the New Order Mormons and The View from the Foyer (though I read quite a few other sites). Due to lack of interest, I never got into the Blog life regarding the transition from Mormonism to something else.

    Just finished part two of Margi’s podcast, the one about her transition and especially about her changes in how she views parenting, friends, and death. So beautiful! When I first watched John online I thought, man, what a looker. And I was jealous of his wife. Now that I’ve spent more than three hourse watching and listening to Margi I’m jealous of you, John!

    Anyway, thanks ever so much. I’m getting so much out of listening, even though my transition is pretty much finished. You’re doing good work. I hope someday to meet you both. Much love!

  64. Kathleen Baxter

    Hi there John. I am a member of WOCA because of watching a podcast with you and the ladies about a week ago at that restaurant. I want you to know that that has been a godsend to me. I am isolated out here in Puerto Rico and really had no one to talk to about my faith transition other than my husband. I have been listening to your podcasts over the last 18 months or so and I was listening to one with a young man that had an interview with his old mission president and one of the 70. I believe the number of the podcast should be number 712, 713 and 714. I can’t seem to find those. Did they get taken off or what ? Anyway if you could help me find them or tell me what happened that would be great. God bless you and your family. Love Kathleen Baxter

  65. Hi John, I’m currently what you would most likely label an “orthodox Mormon.” I haven’t listened to many of your podcasts, so I don’t know much about you. But, my sister’s friend shared an article where you attempt to explain your motivation for what you do. I read through that, and then several of your other articles. You seem to have a following, but I’d assume that the majority of people probably browse for a while, like I did, ask a few questions, and then move on, assuming you won’t converse with a regular, unimportant believer. On the other hand, you advocate openness and transparency. So, I’m giving this a shot : ). I’m hoping you will have an open conversation with me here, so my family and others can read what you say. Bottom line is, I’m not convinced that you are being honest when you explain your motivation for what you are doing. Some of your readers think they have been lied to by Church leaders, but I don’t think President Monson is lying to them. I’m not accusing you of lying, but I’m just not convinced that you are really being transparent…..I’ll be straightforward : )…I don’t have a degree, like you, so maybe you’ll think I’m too dense to get it, but, the reasons you give for encouraging disbelief don’t make sense to me. For examples: I don’t see any real racism in the Book of Mormon. As far as I know, there is a lot of evidence for God and supporting the Book of Mormon, and nothing really proving they aren’t true…nothing against. There must be something deeper driving you to do what you do. You claim to love Mormons, and imply you thus feel a responsibility to inform us about polygamy and so on, but information on those topics is already available on and I’d assume the anti-mormon versions, dishonest versions which encourage stereotypes, are available from many sources without you. You are more subtle in your approach, that is different, but I don’t believe a desire to repeat those emotion based “mormon stories” is your motivation. Also, if you didn’t lead people away from the light of Christ, then they wouldn’t need your therapy to help them forget the pain of separation.

    I really try to have an open mind, and, if you really do care about us, and really are concerned about being right to bring pain into the lives of loving LDS parents, Bishops, and so on, then please show me some evidence that proves you are not hiding the truth about the Gospel from people. I could quickly give you a list of the top 3 reasons for my faith. I’m perfectly willing to discuss them openly,….and so, what is your top evidence against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints….if you could give a concrete or proving evidence, simply and directly, and then openly discuss it, and, if it stands, this would help me understand, a little better, your motivation for what you do. Without that it might just be sophistry.

    1. Lookingfortruth

      Joe did you read the essays on If you had then you would have answered your own question about the church’s deception. While studying as a very active member I came across the second polygamy essay put on I was devastated. So much of what I’ve been taught, and in turn taught my own children just isn’t true. The church used deception to manipulate the membership into a false faithfulness. Joseph married other people’s wives, married 14 year olds, lied to Emma, broke the law, and used manipulation to coerce women into marrying him with promises of glory for their entire families. And that’s not all. I went on to read the references used by the church to write the essays (In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton and Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman both faithful and active Mormons.) I was crushed by what I learned. Maybe you should read the essays and references for the essays before accusing others of lying and leading people astray. You will discover the mass deception by our church leaders.

      I can’t get past the question of why did the church use deception and a fake history ? My biggest worry is because none of its true and they know it. The church refuses to answer the question of why they lied. People lie for a reason. People lie when they have something to hide. Maybe you should question your leaders. Although I did and I turns out that my bishop didn’t even know about the essays. He did NOT know that Joseph Smith married 30 to 40 women most without Emma’s knowledge, some were sexual. Joseph had an affair with Fanny Alger in 1833, before he has the sealing power, so it cannot in any way be construed as a marriage. Polygamy was always against the law in the United Stares, Canada and Mexico. It was NEVER legal. Joseph was arrested and put in Carthage for breaking the law multiple times by polygamy and by ordering the destruction of a printing press. He was in jail for valid reasons. He wasn’t being treated unfairly. He was guilty of criminal acts.

      I think you can answer your own questions by reading the essays. The are white washed and attempt to put Joseph in a more favorable light but after I read the reference material, the evidence of the deception was more clear.

      Jesus Christ doesn’t preach or act in darkness or secret. Truth is open and transparent.

  66. Pingback: #24: Being Gay and Mormon | Impolite Conversation

  67. I know all about the homophobic abuse that went on with a certain high LDS member in the 80’s….. and his screwed up pedaphile offspring of a son…..have seen the damage he did to his own family especially his daughter within the mormon church…..saw what someone else wrote, about a lady who ended up working as a stripper after years of serious abuse…..mmmm…..sounds like a very familiar story……could be the same……if it was legal to beat the crap out of someone……i’d have already smashed his teeth in……but it isn’t…..and seeing how he now has a disease…….ah well karma’s a bitch.xx

  68. Am very impressed with your research.
    Is there one compelling reason to believe in the LDS?

    It seems there may be one compelling reason for not believing in the LDS and that is D&C 132 as scripture.

    One compelling reason to believe in the Catholic Faith could be the Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist:
    The Biblical evidence is in favour of the Catholic Church’s Eucharist: celebrated daily Acts2:46 … and celebrated on the first day of the resurrection in Emmaus; unleavened bread St. Luke 22:1; the form of the Mass composed of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist as celebrated on to way to and in Emmaus St. Luke 24:15-31; real presence 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 … and, of course, there is much much more.

    Is there any Biblical support for the sacrament of the LDS?

    With warm regards.

  69. I recently spent a train journey chatting with a Mormon doctor and his wife who were in the UK for a holiday. Before we got off the train he said he would send me The Book of Mormon. I know little about the Mormon faith so did an internet search and by chance came across a moving set of three discussions between you and Micah Nickolaisen, I also noticed that Micah was giving a talk at the Salt Lake Summer Symposium. Is there any way I could access the talk or a transcript? Micahs history really resonated with me.

  70. John, Thanks for documenting many of the stories and issues within the lds culture. Historically you’ll be known as a pioneer of internet mormon history. 100 years from now most of us will be forgotten, you will be remembered as making a contribution away from harmful dogma. Keep up the important work.

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