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  1. I really enjoyed Carah’s interview with this brave father and daughter. Thank-you, Mark and Zelle, for sharing your stories, which were very heart-felt, open, and inspiring. I wish your family the best.

  2. Here is a fantastic new documentary on the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith


  3. Huge thank your for sharing your heartfelt experiences, perspectives, and observations! Excellent interview! Bravo! So good I must listen to it twice!

    You are both brave. I wish I could come out to family and friends to let them know my shelf has broken. It is so hard when you have lived so much of your life with certain beliefs of this church that were taught to you, and then to find out that in reality the sugar-coated history wasn’t fully disclosed in the missionary lessons. Also it being encouraged to not research online or read about the actual history, that is manipulation and clearly not of God. Shedding light on the truth of deception of the church that is honestly damaging many people’s lives is critical. So many families and individuals end up needing therapy from all of this mess the church has promoted and propagated! This does nothing positive for society, and in fact is a detriment taking the time, quality of life, and money away from people who could have lived with more richer, truer experiences. What a shame and embarrassment the church is to do this to people!

    Spot on to note how true it is that so many members are not trusting/respectful of the psychology field/mental health profession, yet Bishops/Stake Pres/missionaries are often in the position to give advice in the name of HF or asked to give critical life changing advice with no counseling education/background, they have no business doing so.

    We must continue to inform the uninformed, but obviously with their consent if they choose. Ignorance is bliss, but would you rather take the blue or red pill? It seems like there is a wave of red pills to be distributed this year. We can only hope. Let’s go to a Thrive event!

  4. Thanks to Mark and Zelle for their courage in sharing their experiences during the interview.

    After watching many stories of those who leave the Latter-day Saint faith, the majority seem to struggle with trying to understand what they think about God, the Bible and Jesus after they have left the Church. I was particularly interested in what Mark had to say near the end of the interview. I’ll quote him in the next paragraph.

    “We can look at good biblical scholarship and I go with what those people have figured out. I look at the Old Testament, and I say . . . yep . . . most of that probably never happened.”

    The thing that stood out the most to me in Mark’s quote was the term “good biblical scholarship”. My assumption is that the statement is a reference to people like Bart Ehrman at UNC and to religious professors at other secular institutions. I have stated before that I think that type of scholarship is extremely liberal and doesn’t represent mainstream Christian scholarship very well. In support of my position, I’d like to add a quote from PhD New Testament scholar Michael Kruger in the next three paragraphs. The quote is from the book, Surviving Religion 101. The book was written to Dr. Kruger’s daughter as she entered UNC, where Bart Ehrman teaches. The words in parenthesis in paragraphs one and three are mine. The words in parenthesis at the end of paragraph two are original, from Dr. Kruger.

    “Indeed, this bias against Christian scholars begins long before someone is interviewed for a job. It begins even in the admissions process to PhD programs. For example, when it comes to doctoral programs in religious or biblical studies, those with evangelical (you could probably substitute mainstream Christian for evangelical in these paragraphs) convictions face an uphill battle to get admitted, even if they have excellent academic credentials. Many evangelicals are sifted out of the process from the very start. As a result, many evangelical scholars don’t end up at places like UNC, but teach at evangelical institutions that are comfortable with their beliefs.

    So, beware of religion professors who defend their position by saying things such as “all scholars agree” or by saying that their view is standard fare among biblical scholars. What that really means is that their view is standard fare among all the scholars they already agree with (which, if you think about it, is not an overly significant point).

    Overlooked in such claims are the thousands of evangelical scholars around the world who would disagree. You should know , for example, that the top ten largest seminaries in the United States are all evangelical. These seminaries represent thousands and thousands of students and hundreds and hundreds of professors. If virtually all scholars agree with your religion professor(a reference to the fact that his daughter might have a religion professor with the same bible beliefs as Bart Ehrman), then who are all those professors (who are) teaching at the ten largest seminaries? It is not so difficult for a professor to argue that their views are mainstream when they get to decide what is mainstream.”

    The point Dr. Kruger was trying to make to his daughter in the book (written as his daughter was preparing to enter UNC) was that the biblical scholarship at UNC, as taught by Dr. Ehrman, did not align with huge numbers of more conservative biblical scholars at many other institutions around the world.

    As far as most of the Old Testament probably never happening, Mark would have to also dismiss the New Testament teachings of Jesus in order to substantiate that statement. Jesus quoted the Old Testament numerous times in the New Testament. Those quotes included passages from both early and later chapters of Isaiah and passages from Genesis. The Jesus of the Bible (who is not the Jesus of the Latter-day Saint faith) believed in and taught about the Old Testament.

    In conclusion, I’m glad Mark still has some hope that there is a God. I addressed why I think it is more rational to believe in a God rather than to believe that no God exists by writing five comments in the comment section of the Street Epistemology and Mormonism podcast series. I will link that podcast series below. My comments start at about the sixth one down and continue as you scroll down the page.

  5. I really enjoyed this interview and I am a 76-year old male. On the comments I read a lot about not believing much of the Old but all of the New Testament. Zelle, you are doing what you need to do now. PEW Research notes that 26% of Americans want nothing to do with organized religion. These people are referred to as unaffiliated or the “nones”.

    For both Zelle and Mark, there is a lot of good Biblical scholarship. I not only read and listened to a lot of Erhman material but , of Amy-Jill Levine of Vanderbilt U. Divinity School, and Molly Worthen, U. of N.C. I have read a lot of “good” Mormon scholarship but of all those over 40 years in the Church, I only read LDS material and not other non-LDS literature until I went down the rabbit hole. So do the same amount of studying on the Bible and the history of Christianity and you will find similar problems in Biblical/Christianity study as in Mormonism study. I continue to study the Bible and world religion, because of its influence on societies of the world. And once you begin to study world religions, you will find that other religious people besides Christians have good lives, even if their religions’ past is often filled with violence and injustice. When it comes to the Bible, no one has an original copy of the complete set of manuscripts, therefore, we can never know for sure what was originally said. We can never know what Jesus said.

    Zelle, I think that what you mean about organized religion religion and the lack of its need is, “I do good to my fellow beings because I think it is the right thing to do and will help humanity. I don’t do good things because I want “eternal” rewards or fear “eternal” punishment.” If you were my daughter I’d be as proud of you as I know your dad is.

    And as for the Episcopalian or Anglican or Church of England, several of the Founding Fathers and their wives attended that church , but several such as Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and George Washington, were not attenders or what many today would call a Christian. Mark, your belief is very similar to than of Thomas Jefferson, as noted in a book he wrote, “The Jefferson Bible.”

    Mark, I’m glad you and Zelle still have friends. My wife and I have very few. We live in a very fundamentalist Mormon area with little forgiveness. And our one child, a daughter who graduated from BYUI and now lives in Rexburg with a fairly big family has very little to do with us. No phoning. No e-mailing. Very occasional short letters. But, like Zelle, my wife and I still feel it is l good to be free from the control.

    Good luck with the rest of your life.

  6. Awesome interview. Way to go Carah – seems like you’re getting more and more comfortable with these.

    Zelle – I’m curious about the BYUI teacher that taught about spiritual vs worldly sex. I have newly married kids there right now. And don’t need some weird teacher messing with their heads. I think my kids, like you, are wise enough to see thru that garbage. But, I would mind firing off a note to the school, if you’re comfortable with that and don’t mind sharing the name. Even without the name, I will send a note. This stuff makes me crazy.

    Best to all of you going forward.

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