624: Kate Kelly on Life After Excommunication, Safe Sex, and Women’s Reproductive Rights

IMG_1268In this Mormon Stories Live! episode recorded at Club/Cafe at 50 West on March 9, 2016, I interviewed Kate Kelly about the following:

  • Life since her excommunication, including her divorce from Neil Ransom and her new relationship with Jack Waters.
  • Thoughts on the Ordain Women movement — past, present and future.
  • Kate’s new position with Planned Parenthood, which includes advocating for:
    • The basic role/function of Planned Parenthood
    • Women’s Reproductive Rights (e.g., abortion)
    • Contraception and safe sex


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  1. John, I’m way out of the loop. I want to go to these events but never hear about them until you post the recording. I check this website daily for news and stories (there’s never news). Where are you posting the information about these events? Can I suggest you post them on this site, add a calendar of events, or something. I’ve been very disappointed missing these past events (Kate Kelly, Jeremy runnels, and the marajuana debate). Thank you.

    1. johnny bocchetti

      I left behind Mormonism voluntarily in 1995, I have noticed since then that the church creates an impermeable barrier leaving members disconnected from the physical world. The exception being the pursuit of money. During 2012 I went to Saint George, Utah to help an old friend with his mining activities. I even attended the local ward and within a few Sunday the once friendly people became very cold and I felt extremely uncomfortable. They spewed such hatred for Obama, and once finding out I was from San Francisco and an ex-Mormon it became a little intense. I was so glad to get out of there. The old friend I stayed with had a marriage on the rocks, everywhere I looked I saw dysfunction. My friends wife was taking copious amounts of sedatives and anti-depressants. I saw a culture on the rocks, held together by their social frayed fabric and devotion to an odd blend of Old Testament rules and a geriatric hierarchy..

      1. Are you suggesting the church created “impermeable barrier” is preventing Kelly from getting notice of the mormon stories events?

  2. Oh, my gosh do I relate to everything Kate said! Coming from Fundamentalist Mormonism, there were so many young women who shared that they felt raped when they were first and later married. . . I think that is why there is so much sexual abuse. Too much ignorance and not enough talk and education! Thanks for all you shared Kate!

  3. I listened to the entire interview today, and thanks John, for another great one. Kate, congrats on the wonderful work that you’re engaged in, but more importantly, for being an inspiration to those of us who are moving out of (or considering it) church culture and activity. You have navigated your way to a new tribe, new relationship, new culture, and meaningful work!! And without guile or shame.

  4. This interview was AMAZING! It was so great to hear Kate talk about her life after and all the advocacy she’s doing with Planned Parenthood. I remember, after transitioning out of Mormonism I discovered how NOT of the devil PP was, but instead how amazing it and other family planning services were. As an older single Mormon who never had sex because I was never married, going to a place that was completely non-judgmental, and educational was amazing.

    In conjunction with what Kate said about how many ex-Mo’s struggle with things that many learned back in their teens and twenties — I found that being an adult, and having people who understood my knowledge holes and could support me without judgement were how I learned to navigate my world into things that are completely normal to others, like alcohol and coffee. I had a friend who was a bartender that taught me about alcohol, and the different tastes, and started with light “soda” like wines and smoothie-like cocktails. And because I’m an adult I can make informed decisions about when I want to have a drink. I find, that because I’m not using alcohol for anything like partying or rebellion, I can enjoy it socially when I’m out with friends, or have a glass of wine at home once in a while after a long day at work. And for coffee, I had a good co-worker friend show me how to make coffee in a coffee maker — again, without any judgement. He knew my background, so when I admitted that I didn’t know how to make coffee for the office, he just showed me. It was great.

    When it came to the world of entering sex as an adult I decided to work with a sex therapist, and actually used a sex surrogate partner (since I didn’t have any serious relationship and was an older virgin). It was an amazing experience to learn sex ed in a practical way – where I could practice how to give and refuse consent, how to communicate about what my needs and desires were, and learning how my body worked in a safe sexual environment. (I actually wrote a whole blog about it and have been interviewed — there aren’t many women out their who use sex surrogates. If anyone is interested in reading about my story they can visit thewakingtigress.com). A sex surrogate might not be for most people, but getting educated about how sex works, how to have intimate experiences (even if they don’t lead to full intercourse), and how to communicate in an open way about sex is needed not just for Mormons and ex-Mo’s but for our entire society.

    Thanks Kate and John for giving the space to have such an open and honest discussion about all of these things! Thank you, thank you!

  5. Those men who believed you enough of a threat to cast you out, Kate, have revealed themselves to be neither insightful nor inspired. You were extraordinary as a Mormon in daring to propose that the president actually be prophetic. Now as a post Mormon you’ve blossomed into something of a force of nature, making the world a better place in ways that your accusers never will. Remarkably, the suits in the plush red seats thought they were throwing you away but what they threw away was any chance they might have had of influencing you or inclining you to their way of thinking. It was their loss!

    In 3 Nephi, Jesus warns the gentiles of their greed, their hubris and their self-destructive folly. Although they did so in an unkind, unChristlike, and quite inept fashion, perhaps your accusers have done you and your folks a favor in showing you the door. Your continuing love and vision will be the surest vindication of you as an extraordinary woman.

  6. Another great interview, John. Kate’s journey has been interesting to follow, and I appreciate her willingness to share both the good and the bad. It’s hard enough to change your world view, and move completely out of your comfort zone, but to try to do something like that while your every move is watched and critiqued takes a certain fortitude that not everyone can find in themselves.

    If you’d pass a message on to Kate (I don’t know if she’ll see this), in the future she should refer to multi-partner relationships as non-monogamy, unless she’s specifically talking about polyamory. Polyamory is a part of the non-monogamy umbrella, which includes many types of open relationships.

  7. tropical animal

    Kate, you are deightful, brilliant, a great communicator and leader.

    So stupid that the church has a built-in system for eliminating smart, capable leaders such as you and John.

    Religious male hierarchies, historically and today, make women subservient to males and to the male hierarchy. They also eliminate their thoughtful, creative, critical thinkers. Male hierarchies of both Muslims and Mormons do this.

    Over time this creates a dumb gene pool and a dumb group. It is not good for the group to eliminate smart people and, at the same time, bring in the not too smart.

    Pleasantly surprized that you are working for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is one of the best and most needed organizations in the country. Giving women control over their bodies, especially poor women, is so very important.

    A woman forced to have a baby she can’t take care of, closes doors, turns out her lights and condemns her to a life of poverty. Moreover, it also condemns her family and the country to which she belongs, to poverty. (Think Muslim hordes.) So rather than costing taxpayers money, Planned Parenthood saves taxpayers a lot of money. Planned Parenthood is so needed, it should be made a department of government.

    1. Is Planned Parenthood the business enterprise, that was caught selling baby body parts, or was it an other one?

      1. The finding of the Texas grand jury which investigated Planned Parenthood was that they DIDN’T engage in any actionable illegal or unethical practices.

        It’s worth noting, however, that the 2 political operatives who tried to submarine Planned Parenthood in a piece of gotcha film were both indicted on a felony for their actions and one of them was indicted on a second misdemeanor.

        And, still, here you are, knowingly or unknowingly, continuing to spread innuendo against the party, Planned Parenthood, who was wronged in that biased and deceptive attempt to smear them.

  8. Absolutely loved this interview and thoughtful discussion about so many important topics highly pertinent to transitioning and post Mormons. As a 36-year-old physician, married man with young children, fully transitioned out of the church with my wife over the last several years, I have listened to hundreds of Mormon stories podcasts. So many have been so enlightning and pertinent to me at different stages of my faith transition, and I continue to be so grateful for the work you John, and Kate have done and continue to do. It’s truly so helpful to hear mature and intelligent perspectives on these issues that are so pertinent to me from people like you who have had adult faith transition experiences so much like my own, albeit much more publicly and courageously than I had to do it. At so many points along my transition I have had few if any people with whom I could discuss and process the information or ideas I was grappling with at the time, but have often felt like I was processing them with John Dehlin, Kate Kelly, the Calderwoods, Lindsey Hansen Park, et al. It has been so valuable to work through all of this “with” such great people, like you. Like Kate, I just don’t think about God or what’s true or not true any more, but rather care a lot more about real questions and issues right in front of me that impact my own and my family’s and patients’ real, lived experience. I think constantly about how to teach and guide my children down a path I didn’t get to walk in my orthodox upbringing. It’s so helpful that Mormon stories has evolved somewhat into a place of intelligent, thoughtful discussion pertinent to well grounded, principled, determined post Mormons. Thank you so much to both of you, from the bottom my heart, for what you do and who you are and what you stand for.

  9. John, I wish you would have pressed Kate harder on most/any of her positions. What about her stance that pro-life advocates are simply “anthropomorphizing” a fetus? It sounds quick and clever, but, seriously, just think about that response for a second. “Anthropomorphism,” according to google means “the attribution of *human* characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.” A “human” (or homo sapien) is a scientific term. “Human characteristics” aren’t abstract concepts; they are scientifically demonstrable. Not only does a fetus already comprise *all* necessary scientifically “human” traits, but even a fertilized egg does. This is not debated by scientists or even ethicists, pro choice or not. Pro-choice bioethicist, Peter Singer, writes in his book, Practical Ethics, “there is *no doubt* that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs *is* a human being.”

    To “anthropomorphize” something that is already a scientifically demonstrable human being, by definition, makes absolutely zero sense. Yet, it was applauded as some pithy hook in this interview. Why? You used to push guests to qualify their views with something other than purely abstract notions detached from demonstrable scientific facts.

    Mormonism aside, there was a profound amount of unchecked ideology in this interview, even to the point of ideological extremism. Here’s just one example about 33 minutes in:

    “You know what, like, women’s rights is more important to me than social belonging, and community, and family, and everything I’ve ever known, and the entire way I’ve constructed my entire life.” -Kate Kelly.

    She was referring to her excommunication, so I’m trying to not read into this too heavily, but, it’s just, wow. Is this a belief that could honestly fit into any kind of healthy worldview or life experience? I’m not sure. But, I’m hoping to be proven wrong. Either way, I really wish Kate the best in her life journey.

    1. I like this post, though I can’t blame John for not wanting to get in a debate about abortion with Kate Kelly. I came away from this interview thinking how complex the topic of abortion is and how silly it is to be staunchly anti-abortion, considering the challenges that women face with unwanted pregnancies. However, I felt that Kate really ignored issues of sanctity of life and recreational sex and instead kept bringing up “women’s rights” and “men shouldn’t tell women what to do with their bodies”, when this is also a societal issue. It does seem the best current practical solution is the educational and contraceptive services that Plan Parenthood is providing and which Kate is advocating.

    2. I appreciate what you have mentioned. I, too, noted some things for which I would like clarification. For instance, giving the example of ripping off a Band-Aid, Kate said that she was able to free herself from the church immediately. Why then, did she appeal her excommunication six months later? Also, if she has no animosity toward the church, why would she want “reversibility” thereby giving her the chance to evangelize her reasons that people should leave the church?
      Regarding abortion, I think you make a good case why using the term “anthropomorphize” is likely not appropriate. I would also argue that the fact abortions shouldn’t receive such serious attention since colonoscopies are responsible for more deaths than abortion is specious reasoning. If one were to consider the fetus to be a living human, then there is literally no way an abortion can happen without a death. Additionally, there is mental health literature that suggests that women are at a heightened risk for mood disorders and depression after an abortion. The risk of future miscarriage also increases with each abortion. Thus, the ethical quandary and the potential implications of having the procedure seem like it merits serious consideration regardless if colonoscopies are related to more deaths.

      1. Kate did not say that she was able to free herself from the church immediately. She said her transition was easier than it was for people who take years & years & years & agonize for a very long period of time.

        There is NOT mental health literature that suggests that women are at a heightened risk for mood disorders and depression after an abortion. In fact, most credible science says that most women are not negatively impacted by terminating a pregnancy. Also, it’s important to consider what WOULD be the thing negatively impacting them…. IE unnecessary social stigmatization of a common medical procedure.

        The risk of future miscarriage DOES NOT increase with each abortion. Stop spouting random ideas you heard on pro-life blogs or Rush Limbaugh as science.

        1. When she says things like “I was gung-ho until I wasn’t and then I was out” or “it was a pretty clean break” it implied to me that she transitioned not only easily, but also quickly. If you want to interpret it otherwise, I am not interested in arguing with you.

          The co-varying variables and mediating factors related to abortion outcomes are notoriously difficult to parse out in the medical literature. I am not a pro-life advocate, I just disagreed with Kate that abortion should be taken no more seriously than other medical procedures.

          Also, there are journal articles showing an increased risk of miscarriage after an induced abortion:

          Sun, Y., Che, Y., Gao, E., Olsen, J., & Zhou, W. (2003). Induced abortion and risk of subsequent miscarriage. International journal of epidemiology, 32(3), 449-454.

          Lowit, A., Bhattacharya, S., & Bhattacharya, S. (2010). Obstetric performance following an induced abortion. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 24(5), 667-682.

          Maconochie, N., Doyle, P., Prior, S., & Simmons, R. (2007). Risk factors for first trimester miscarriage—results from a UK‐population‐based case–control study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 114(2), 170-186.

          Levin, A. A., Schoenbaum, S. C., Monson, R. R., Stubblefield, P. G., & Ryan, K. J. (1980). Association of induced abortion with subsequent pregnancy loss. JAMA, 243(24), 2495-2499.

          Infante-Rivard, C. & Gauthier, R. (1996) Induced abortion as a risk factor for subsequent fetal loss Epidemiology, 7, 540–542.

          Hiersch, L., Ashwal, E., Aviram, A., Rayman, S., Wiznitzer, A., & Yogev, Y. (2015). The association between previous single first trimester abortion and pregnancy outcome in nulliparous women. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 1-5.

          Similarly, there are a number articles showing issues relating to mental health after an abortion:

          Broen, A., Moum, T., Bødtker, A., & Ekeberg, Ø. (2005). The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study. BMC medicine, 3(1), 1.

          Thorp Jr, J. M., Hartmann, K. E., & Shadigian, E. (2003). Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: review of the evidence. Obstetrical & gynecological survey, 58(1), 67-79.

          Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C. T., Shuping, M., & Rue, V. M. (2009). Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey. Journal of psychiatric research, 43(8), 770-776.

          Mota, N. P. (2010). Associations between abortion, mental disorders, and suicidal behaviour in a nationally representative sample. Canadian journal of psychiatry, 55(4), 239.

          Coleman, P. K. (2011). Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199(3), 180-186.

          Curley, M., & Johnston, C. (2013). The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after abortion among university students. The journal of behavioral health services & research, 40(3), 279-293.

          Bellieni, C. V., & Buonocore, G. (2013). Abortion and subsequent mental health: Review of the literature. Psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 67(5), 301-310.

          Cougle, J. R., Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2003). Depression associated with abortion and childbirth: a long-term analysis of the NLSY cohort. Medical Science Monitor, 9(4), CR105-CR112.

          I am not saying that all studies have found these same conclusions and I am certainly not saying that all women will have these outcomes. All I am saying is that we do not definitively understand all of the side effects of abortion and, thus, it should rightly be treated as a serious decision.

          1. Thank you for your informed comment and for backing it up with evidence. I appreciate that you took the time to do so. Honestly, I probably don’t have the time or inclination to read through all of these (especially since many are behind paywalls), but you’ve given me much to think about.

  10. Thanks for letting us know about the good work you’ve been doing lately, Kate. So much for the apparent hopes of the LDS GAs that maybe you would quietly disappear.

    And John, I especially liked your little dissertation on how you would have a have a healthy conversation about pornography with a hypothetical son.

    I also agree with what Annie hinted at — it may be that the best thing the LDS church ever did for both of you was to excommunicate you. It may not have been fun at the time, but you’re free to do what you really believe in now, and you don’t have to answer to them anymore (just in case I haven’t said this before in a post that made it past technical difficulties).

    EDiL13 (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

  11. John, enjoyed the conversation about polyamory in the Church, and I understand that you’re going to be doing a piece on nonmonogamy. If you haven’t see the LDSSexuality forum, the semi-hidden thread on “swinging” is 90+ pages long, which is many times longer than any other topic on the whole forum. I also write a blog that I previously called MormonSwingers, but changed to “Swingers-in-love” because I didn’t want to drag the church into it from the title. It’s at swingers-in-love.blogspot.com. You’re absolutely right about the swinging rates in the church. It’s huge! Just get on Craigslist and you’ll see.

  12. Michael Surkan

    I am eager to listen to the podcast when I have some time. I am really curious as to whether Kate is still involved with Ordain Women. It sounds like many of her views have diverged even more from the LDS church so I wonder whether “reforming” the church really matters to her anymore.

      1. I just finished listening. It does indeed seem as if she has given up on reform. She has taken a back seat in ordain women and has really diverged in many ways from the church since she left. Like she says, there really aren’t any paths to lobby for change in the LDS Church.

  13. Kate Kelly is a lawyer. Studied and worked in law. The strangest statement I’ve heard in the last year, especially from a lawyer: “More people die from colonoscopies than from abortions”. Made me laugh and think “I didn’t just hear that did I?”

    1. Colonoscopies lead to “serious medical complications” in 5 out of every 1,000 patients, according to a 2006 report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

      1. Jill, would death be considered a medical complication? 100% of abortions result in one. This is demonstrable science. I’m not saying abortion is never justified. I believe terminating an individuals life can have its place in society. But, this whole comparison of abortion to colonoscopies as if they are strictly equivalent things in type, either from a western ethics standpoint or a western medical standpoint, is baseless.

  14. While there are many things that I can say I agree with Kate Kelley on, her stance on abortion and her blithe disregard for pro-life views trouble me. Her last response to the gentleman who posed the tax question to her was so animated, that I could almost feel her spitting nails through my speakers! Not to mention that it also sounded rehearsed and conditioned. She basically resorted to name-calling. I wonder if this is part of her conditioning from Mormonism where they just call people names (like apostate) who disagree with them. I find her rationalizations on abortion akin to how Mormon apologists argue (smoke and mirrors, changing the subject, playing with semantics). I was particularly angered by her comment on the anthropomorphism of fetuses. That was completely ridiculous! Since I am someone who has dealt firsthand with how this can affect people, I feel confident in saying that Kate Kelley has a real disconnect with people who have really good reasons for believing abortion to be wrong. If you’re reading this, John Dehlin, I would challenge you to invite me to explain this on your show. In fact, I dare you! :)

  15. John, I applaud that you haven’t decided to drink alcohol yet. I often hear stories about former Mormons’ first experience with alcohol as it is told with some sense of liberation. I do not, however, hear about these same individuals first experience smoking a cigarette. It stands to reason that if someone has made it into their 30s or 40s without smoking, it seems nonsensical to start now. Why, then, wouldn’t this same mentality apply to drinking alcohol? Although alcohol may be seen as some rite of passage, it is related to a number of physical and social harms and is one of the top causes of death worldwide. If you were to retain one thing from your Mormon upbringing, abstaining from alcohol seems like a strong candidate.

  16. This interview touched on two things that I think would be worth dedicating a podcast to. First is talking to your kids about sex. You had the beginning of a great discussion, and I’d like to hear more. Second is how church doctrine/culture influences women’s body image issues. I know that those issues are a challenge for women everywhere in the western world, but I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one to notice the weird prevalence of plastic surgery billboards when I visit Utah. I wonder if there are any social scientists or other researchers that have tried to figure out what’s going on.

  17. I finally got around to watching this fabulous interview. I can relate on many levels, but a few moments in particular were quite meaningful to me.

    Kate, you spoke about having a panic attack and how you never understood mental health issues before that. It is very true you can’t understand that kind of thing without experiencing it. I’m sorry you had to experience it, but I’m grateful you shared. Non-visible illnesses are hard for people to comprehend and even harder for the afflicted to cope. Following a question on eating disorders – though you hadn’t experienced one yourself – I felt you spoke compassionately and with sincere sympathy. As a survivor, I felt understood. It’s unfortunate the impossible standards of perfection to which women are held.

    You also mentioned how tiring it is for you to be “the only one” speaking up on certain issues. I heartily applaud you and all you’ve done, but there are people who have the same open candor about tough issues, but don’t have the platform to display them. There surely are others in the public eye who could be more ubiquitous, but there are also lesser-known individuals who wish to dialogue, but their audience is much smaller and/or disinterested.

    On a minor scale, I can relate. I occasionally blog about my progress with mental health issues. Often friends, extended family and strangers will message me, saying they have experienced similar things. While it is frustrating everyone doesn’t feel capable of publicly discussing difficult topics, I feel the reasons for his or her silence are too numerous and personal for me to criticize. It took a lot of frustration, heartache and a touch of insanity for me to finally expose the personal emotional issues that – in my opinion – were largely exacerbated by my upbringing in Mormonism. In a fantasy world, I would love the exposure you have to educate, inspire and enlighten others, but I can also imagine the weight of such responsibility is heavy. I hope when you are feeling discouraged by being one of the few in the public eye speaking on such issues, that you know many wish to do so and you do have a unique position to do so for others (whether that’s fortunate or not, it’s true). You mentioned people think they have an invitation to critique you and I want to iterate that is not my intention. You do have a huge weight to bear and you carry it with grace. Today you may be one of the few speaking out, but I believe you have opened the door for many to follow. Be patient, we’re coming. ;)
    And thank you John for continually putting these events together and persisting in your cause.

    I doubt either of you will get the chance to read this, but I wanted to share my feelings regardless.


  18. I haven’t had the chance to listen to the podcast yet. I was perplexed to read that she got divorced. Her husband was so supportive through her whole ordeal.

    Why did she get divorced?

    1. She didn’t really explain the divorce. She read a poem about how sometimes you just know you need a change. To be clear, she only said nice things about her ex. She wasn’t putting the divorce on him.

  19. Great interview kate and jon, l would love to see you have a latest interview with Grant Palmer Sandra Tanner and Jon Hamer aswell as other post Mormon people and see where their lives have taken them and talk more about the church history difficulties, please consider this as possible, thanks

  20. To the man that chafed at his tax dollars going toward ‘recreational’ abortions I would ask what does he think about his tax dollars going toward cancer therapy for someone who ‘recreationally’ smoked. Or his tax dollars going toward food/shelter/education for children born to mothers who do not make enough money to support them? I no longer believe in Jesus but I like his words “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Healthcare is a basic need and should not be subject to laws of judgement or bottom-line-profit driven economic models. That said I would like to hear Kate address the issue of whether or not a fetus should be considered human enough to call abortion murder, or at least why she may not consider this question relevant to the discussion. This question, along with the rights a woman has over the governance of her own body, is fundamental to the issue and should be addressed in both humanistic and scientific terms. I am actively pro-choice but I still believe that as sentient beings we need to show our humanity by giving even the potential of life a respectful discussion.

  21. Good episode. So funny about the drink(ing)! You must not be a Utah Mormon, or at least not one growing up in the 80s. I would say the majority of my friends–and I didn’t have even one who wasn’t Mormon–at least tried drinking and smoking. Anyway, glad you didn’t end up in a gutter. Also, my friend and I frequently skipped seminary to go down to the cafe for a cup of coffee–Mormon bad!

  22. Educated criminals work within the law

    There are other procedures which require a latency period between consent and the procedures. Tubal sterilization & hysterectomy in my state require a 30 day wait if you have state funded insurance. A latency period requirement typically isn’t life threatening. It isn’t just a way to “negatively stigmatize the procedure.” Some politicians and religious minded folks may have that motivation but it should be also viewed as being a way to protect women. Patients can be victims of the self-interest of doctors, scientists etc. Of course no car lot requires a latency period to buy a car so you can really think it through. We often make decisions we regret. Comparing an abortion to having a colonoscopy is dangerous. I am sad for the women who go to Planned Parenthood if that is the party line as part of “education” on options.

    I am pro-choice because I recognize as Kate says that women need access to these services. Women can be in a terrible situation no matter the choice: carrying the baby has a consequence, giving up a baby has a consequence and having a termination of pregnancy has a consequence. People on all sides should respect that it is a difficult position and THAT is why we should respect a woman’s right to choose.

    I do agree that access to quality contraception such as long acting reversible contraception is an important element in alleviating poverty, empowering women and protecting children. It is true that pro-choice people don’t think that abortion is the greatest thing ever. Everyone can get onboard with the idea that unwanted pregnancy is not a good thing. It would be great if we lived in a world where all children are wanted. I salute Planned Parenthood for, albeit like all of us imperfectly, working toward that goal.

    1. Just wondering if your state also requires a 30 day wait for a vasectomy, if the patient has state funded insurance.
      I wonder how they decide what procedures require the wait, and why?

  23. I guess the question I have for John Dehlin is shall we expect more of these types of ideological podcasts. It seems that people on the fringes of Mormonism or Mormons in faith transitions are being pigeonholed with feminists or liberals. They’re plenty of disillusioned conservative Mormons out there.

    1. I would agree with JJ. The more recent podcasts seem to be focused on liberal / ideological issues more than faith issues.

      1. Any luck getting Sen. Mark Madsen on a podcast to discuss his efforts at legalizing medical MJ? I know you were trying to reach out to him on FB.

  24. John,
    I am a fairly new listener to your podcast, but have not been a believer in the LDS Church for many years. I recently started researching the history of the church to help settle some questions that I had in the past, but wasn’t ready to address until now. Something that Kate said in her interview really surprised me, and I don’t find anywhere online to back it up. She said that when she was a Mormon she would say random things in Relief Society lessons to try and raise awareness of the facts. She then said that “the great thing about Emma Smith was she was Joseph Smith and Brigham Young’s wife”, then she stated it was a “random factoid, random factoid”. My jaw dropped when she said this, and I started trying to research it, but I’m not able to find anything on it. Was Kate joking about this, or is this true? She said this at about 2:10 on the interview. I would really appreciate a response or explanation of why she said this if it wasn’t true, or if she was just mistaken? Or maybe it is true, and it’s buried so far in the internet’s that I just can’t find it.

    1. Jonathan Alston

      I caught that too. Maybe she meant Eliza R. Snow? She was married to both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
      Or the 7 or so other women that were married to both of them perhaps??

  25. Kate and John,

    Great Episode!!!

    A couple of years ago, out of the blue, my then 17 year old son said to me:

    “Dad, if they excommunicate John Dehlin like they did Kate Kelly, I will be so mad!”

    I had no idea that my seminary going, tbm son knew who John Dehlin and Kate Kelly were, let alone what they represent. At the root of his disgust, is his commitment to human rights and the church’s obvious flagrant mistreatment of women and the LGBT community.
    I wanted to share this anecdote with you both, as an illustration for how far your activism and work reaches. IMO – The biggest danger to the church is not the historical baggage, Orwell taught us in his book ‘1984’ that this can easily be fixed. The biggest danger to the church is its members thinking and acting as agents to their own moral compass (both of which you two symbolize). From the outside looking in—IMO – this is why both of you were excommunicated—You committed the two worst sins in the Mormon Church—You advocate “freedom of thought” and “freedom of expression” within the context of the Church or maybe better stated “freedom from oppression”. It is sad to say it, but the glue that holds the contemporary Mormon Church together is the glue of ‘oppression’—the oppression of thought and the oppression to act in the accordance to one’s own moral compass.

    Kate—I have a 16 year old daughter—she is very smart, very disciplined, very driven, very aware and vocal about geopolitical issues and does not put up with any kind of sexism or misogyny. As you can attest, this does not bode well for a woman in the Mormon Church. I am watching her become conflicted and frustrated. What I see occurring is that she is being told again and again that the measure of her creation is to become the submissive eternal property of a Mormon man. My wife and her mother, her maternal grandmother, her aunts and church young women leaders all drink this Kool-aid and parrot it as her destiny at every chance—all of these women, in her circle of influence, equates her authentic being, as a phase that will self-correct at some point. As her father, I am committed in fighting the suppression of her authentic self. Do you have any advice that you can give to me, that might help my daughter? Are there any books you can recommend for her to read? You are the perfect role model for her!!! Thanks for standing up publicly, you are helping so many people is so many positive ways.

  26. Kate, there is a difference between change for growth’s sake and losing all sense of yourself. Abortion? Abortion respects neither women nor children. Sex outside of marriage turns something loving into a mere physical release. Research among college women shows great pressure on these young women to service the men they know sexually and women drinking heavily because of the way this makes them feel about themselves. This is not a society honoring women’s sexuality, dignity or power to chose. This is a society teaching them they have no power over their bodies. The best societies require of their members self-control, for the protection of all, including the young, the vulnerable and the mentally ill and mentally disabled. Exercising self restraint is the mark of adulthood. Self indulgence the mark of the immature and mentally ill.
    The commandments taught you in the LDS Church protected you during your youth, from hard to stop habits such as smoking. They protected you from the guilt felt by those who drank too much one night and then injured or killed someone in a car accident. They prevented you from having a child with someone you were not committed to, with all the accompanying pain for both parent and child.
    I admired your desire to expand the power and usefulness of LDS women even though I did not agree with the methods you chose.
    But I find the causes you are promoting now as beneath your dignity as a human being and especially as a woman.

  27. You are too good a woman and leader of women to go down this path. Abortion is a denial of women’s rights, a means men applaud as a way to exploit women sexually without consequence to themselves. We need you back as a true champion of women.

    1. I can no longer support Kate Kelly or the causes she supports. I was a feminist before Kate was born. I still am. Feminists support women and men and children. They want increased power and visibility to increase their ability to fight evil and promote good. I do not see how using a public platform to mock the teachings of your youth about using alcohol makes you free. Kate’s comments made me think her immature, like a teenager proclaiming to the adults in her life, “you can’t make me do that.”
      And those comments about assigning human characteristics to the unborn were despicable. Certainly the life of a developing child, soon to be born with all the promise of mortality, deserves to be described correctly and protected accordingly.
      Kate, I like you but I cannot follow down the paths you are now on. I do not see them as feminist. I do not see them as good or loving or kind.

  28. I want to recommend books for teaching kids sexuality. “It’s Not The Stork” and the others by the same author are books that are about sexuality and by pediatricians and available according to age appropriateness. I also like “Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (but were afraid they’d ask)” written by a Pediatrician. Also about sex abuse prevention: “No Means No” and “I Said No” are two great picture books helping kids to know how to say no. And also “Body Safety Education: A Parent’s Guide to Protecting Kids from Sexual Abuse”. Vital and especially without comprehensive sex-education in most states.


    Kate, you are amazing and I love you. John, thank you for supporting her and giving her a platform to share such an awesome interview.

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