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  1. Thank you Alex. Your faith crisis mirrors mine, with the exception that my husband and I haven’t got an exit strategy yet. Hope to have your courage one day soon. Everything is such a muddle. Thanks John for all your work. Good to hear from some fellow Brits!

    1. Thanks Shelley. It really is tough, heartbreaking and yes, a muddle. I’m not sure you need an exit strategy per se. Just do what makes you feel comfortable and ultimately happy and at peace.

    2. Any organization that requires an “exit strategy” to leave is, by definition, a cult. Sooner or later you are going to have to bite the bullet and go. Delaying is not likely to make it better. And you have to leave completely and totally because they will do everything in their power to drag you back in. Good Luck.

  2. John,

    Can you please give us a story of someone who has lost their testimony of Joseph Smith, but who is still in love with the Lord? It seems like everything has been slanted toward skepticism recently. I recommend Andy Poland or Bart Pascoal. Andy’s story is out of this world. And you know Bart as the founder of Mormon Infographics.

  3. Great interview! If only all Mormons could hear this, they could not help but be impressed with the honesty, integrity, and genuine decency of men like Alex. Wise men[and women] will lsten and consider what he has to say!

  4. The pattern is almost always s the same. You discover the facts in your search for “further light and knowledge” and when you do, the realization of what you’ve put your whole life into is so mind boggling and painful. The key to making a successful trainsition seems to be when you do it. If you’re able to leave with your family intact and with some community, it makes all the difference in the world. Leaving without your wife and your children is mind numbing and heart wrenching.

    Furthyer, it is so difficult to know where to fit in after the Church has been so much of your life. On the otherhand, the cognitive disonance is so overwhelming that it becomes a choice between your integrity and going along with the old narrative which just can’t stand up to any scrutiny at all.

    I can empathize completely with his story. The fear, the pain and heartache. Pure hell for sure.

  5. Alex, I really enjoyed your story. I also can relate to the surprise and feeling of upheaval when learning about the more complicated narrative of church history and doctrine. The sources that you referenced as being influential on you (Jeremy Reynolds, Fawn Brodie, the Tanners) argue for a position that the church is false and often with a lot of anger. I’ve noticed how it can impact one’s ability to process information in a fair and balanced way. So as I was listening to you I thought of the Mormon Matters podcast (a sister podcast to Mormon Stories) #304: Mormon History and Lying. I’ve including the link to that podcast and an excellent article written by a Mormon historian trying to put the past into perspective – which is often difficult for us non-historians to do. If you feel so inclined I think they may help you in your healing journey and perhaps allow you to give more grace to our past leaders.

    http://www.mormonmatters.org/2015/11/03/304-mormon-history-and-lying/

    http://www.withoutend.org/stop-weve-lied-to-church/

    1. Unfortunately, people who value truth and honour cannot simply place falsehoods “into perspective,” as you appear to be asking readership to do. In real life, things either happened or did not happen. An individual can spin a nice story in order to salvage his or her faith, but if it’s false, it remains false. And being false, it has no redemption value and requires abandonment and getting on with one’s life.

      The view of one being changed and saved through Christianity can be had in any one of many Christian sects. Mormonism is one of them, but is found only on the fringe of Christianity, its body rallying more around the hero worship of Joseph Smith than hero worship of Jesus Christ. I believe in neither. Joseph Smith, while real, was a fraud, a huckster, a carnival barker and snake oil salesman. Like Donald Trump, he was a womanizer and serial adulterer. And evidence mounts that the Jesus figure did not really exist at all. I’m afraid we’re left on our own to ponder the beautiful universe as it really is, and to help beautify the world for others. That is existence enough.

        1. Actually, there are many serious scholars who question the historicity of the Jesus figure. Unfortunately, Ehrman is known to play the “True Scotsman”, where he defines the group “serious historian” as people who agree with him. There is plenty of valid debate going on.

    2. Hi Andrea, thanks for your comments, I appreciate you taking time out. Regarding sources, it’s more than possible I wasn’t clear. It was very late/early morning 😉 Let me make it clear now, my journey or crisis as some people like to call it, started through church documents; The gospel essays, history of the church and Joseph Smith’s (plus Emma’s) diaries along with official church responses over the years were enough for me to amend my view of the church and some of it’s leaders. This then lead to the CES Letter etc So I didn’t start out with those things. I’m not sure there would be too much difference through to be honest. Im not sure they’re angry. But that’s beside the point. I just want to thank you for your links and time in replying. I genuinely appreciate it xx

  6. Thank you, Alex. Many of us Americans are coming around and leaving LDS Inc. It is always nice to read a fresh story from elsewhere in the world. You are now a free agent. You’re life’s an oyster, as Falstaff reminds us. You need no help or instruction to beautify the world, to live your life, and certainly no help from unprofessional, untrained, and misguided clergy.

    1. Thanks Michael. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear that ppl across the water are able to enjoy and perhaps relate to my story. Thanks for your support 🙂

  7. Thank You Alex for following your heart and sharing your story!! Boy can I relate, Thank You!! I just thought I would share what has really helped me to find balance and put life into a purpose after the hellish journey of leaving this religion ( which is not a big thing now 🙂 ) but at the time it was very hard facing reality and awakening out of all the fog!! If your interested I recommend talking to Shawn McCraney with Heart of the Matter (HOTM.com) He has written a few books but his latest “Knife to a gun Fight” is pretty cool, its also on his website recorded so you can listen to it. He has helped lots of Mormons transition out of Mormonism as he was once a Mormon himself. He is very Christ like and loving to all and helped me put the right perspective on life and God. I hope this information helps you!! God Bless you and your family and Thanks Again for sharing!!

    1. Why thank you so very much Sandy. What a lovely thing to say and so thoughtful of you to suggest further reading. I really appreciate that. Much love and peace to you xx

    1. Kristin, you’ve made my day. Those few words say and mean so much. I couldn’t wish for anything more than helping someone feel hope. Sending you love & peace xxx

  8. Alex, your story has helped someone! Thank you for sharing. And thanks John for putting stories and info out there. Sometimes the truth hurts, but I’d rather be going through this than be misled for any more of my life.

    1. JoAnna that ABSOLUTELY means the world to me. Thank you, I just hoped that it would help, support or validate someone. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I wish you nothing but peace and strength xxx

  9. Thank you for your video Alex, the parallels between your experience and my own is scary. I actually served 6 months of my mission in Cardiff ward in 1998. I’m from Sheffield but live just outside Belfast now. I served on a bishopric and taught Adult Sunday School. My feelings are the same as yours, I feel deceived, and stupid for falling for it all. Like you said most members don’t even know the issues exist and do not know what they are actually a part of. I have been out of the church for two years but I’m still struggling with what to do with my membership too. I too have not been reached out to and I have a good idea why, it’s because people like us who do not leave because of laziness or offence or sin, but because of reason can not be brought back and the church is conserved that if they try to bring back the ones who know the truth about the church they will teach that truth to others. They would rather loose a few than expose the membership to the truth. You and I my friend have become lepers and have been sent away to protect the general populace. I’ll include my e-Mail address on the form below. I’d love to hear from you.

  10. Alex,

    Thank you for being willing to share. You have such a kind and good demeanor. I can see why you were quickly snatched up to work with children. I am in the thick of it -good and bad. The church has endless resources for its believing members which used to work. There isn’t much for those of us trying this scary journey out. Some days I am desperate to hear people who feel like me. Your story calmed my soul today and I appreciate you bravely telling us in an open and honest way. Every time I hear those bravely speaking I hope I get a little braver. I wish you all the best to you and your family.

  11. Alex, thanks so much for doing this interview. Please know that sharing your story and your thoughts about your experiences has helped me as well.

    I related to much of your story, except that my wife is still fully in and I attend mostly for her. I’ve been doing that for a few years now, but listening to stories like yours in a way keeps me sane, and helps me process everything I have gone through and still am going through.

    I served in the England Leeds mission as well (a little before you), so it was great to hear you talk about some of your areas. I have a great love for the British people, and have some very fond memories of my mission, including with some British companions.

    I still have my Geordie dictionary. What a difficult language to learn. 🙂

  12. Hi Alex,
    i stumbled on your podcast yesterday, the Mormon gossip did not get as far as NZ to let me know you are out. I wish you and Jo well. it has been almost five years for me now and I totally identify with how you feel . I feel stronger and happier every day, the life I lkive now is on my own terms, not on terms prescribed to me, my children are able to make their own choices, Jonah is 18, flatting and enjoying life as a uni student with dreams of overseas travel, unburdened by mission expectations. Leaving the church is one of the best choices I have ever made, I totally identify with the feeling of fear, confusion when your shelf broke. It is a burden. I was not looking for evidence, merely did a search regarding something different, stumbled on the term polyandry and I was hooked, reading things I had never been taught. I too have fond memories of being raised in the church in Wales, the members remain wonderful people, but for me,life is so much more outside the box, I like spreading my wings. Good luck outside the box and I hope your extended family are well. This journey gets easier, the longer you walk it xx

  13. Alex I’m so glad to hear a story from Cymru! My late father in law grew up on a farm near Lampeter and never spoke English until school. Best of luck in your new journey.

  14. Alex is one of the nicest and most genuine people I know. His message at one level is so simple yet it actually serves to challenge the complexities of a broad range of issues that impact on so many people’s lives. His honesty and candid style mixed with his humour and natural ability to make others smile generates such love and warmth. John smiled nearly all the way through the interview , he laughed and he even ventured a bit of a sing haha, that’s got to be a first on MS. (may be not, as not listened to all yet) When people like Alex leave this so called true church, it speaks volumes about the organisation and everything that is wrong with it. There will be some who will seek to be critical of Alex but he nails the heart of the matter so square on that any attempt to challenge his position will require some significant nonsense-assimilation efforts often employed by the ‘ four legs bad two legs good’ brigade !

    Well done Alex you beautiful man …….. oh can’t believe you did not mention the Manics !!!

  15. Let me apologize for being so long-winded but this podcast has brought up so many deep feelings ….

    First John you did a great job on this interview. you got a very good balance of how it feels to leave the church and you included the reasons for leaving!! thank you for going into that area!!

    That is a big part of the problem. Members who listen to podcasts arent really interested in the process of our leaving the church– until they understand the reasons for doing that. that
    Member attitude reflects in the lives of those who leave the church. Friends and family are not interested in our process of leaving the church until they understand the reasons –the facts

    That’s why I feel so strongly with Alex
    Ever since I discovered the truth!!
    Your greatest desire is for your friends and family to know the facts. Then let them make their own choice……informed and independent
    By learning the facts they will have a greater understanding of why we chose to leave the church–and hopefully compassion

    Our plea to everyone—- please just learn the facts about the history of the church and Joseph Smith–The origin of our beliefs –then make your own choice

    for you Alex and myself we have made that choice to leave because we believe the facts make it clear that the history and Joseph Smith is based on lies

    It is difficult to answer the question, how is your life now that you have let go of the church?
    I think a good way to try to explain it is this….
    Before we were caring a backpack of huge rocks (which we thought was gold ) every day along the path of life—Church doctrine and expectations as well as false hope and trust provided by these rocks —

    we carried that burden with friends and family along side of us who were loving and good and supportive……..

    now we are relieved of that burden and feel so much lighter—although we don’t have that false hope –which feels like a loss

    Remember Christ’s words “take my burden upon you it is light…….”

    The downside of dropping that Burden is we cannot walk and relate anymore with the people we used to…..those who still carry that burden –we cannot enjoy the same kind of closeness and relationship with them because of their rejection of us —and that is a truly difficult loss

    Sorry I am always so wordy–but like you I am very passionate about what has been such a powerful force in my life for 60 years –The Mormon church

    One more point when people ask what if you later you find The church is really true and you’re wrong…….

    This is why I have continued to read and study every day and to search my heart. I have tried to understand god by thinking with my mind and listening to my heart

    For me the bottom line is asking ‘what God would say about the facts I found? what kind of God do I believe in?? And what does my heart tell me is really good

    I have come to the point where I am very strong and confident that the church is based on lies and this is not what God would do or say–that is my testimony based on facts and the spirit of God –the spirit of truth

    Therefore I know with even more conviction that this is not true— than I did when I used to say that ‘ I have the testimony it is true”

    I have no fear– nor do I believe–there is even a possibility —that this Church could ever be found to be true, or of God –even in the next life

    The burden is light and yet the pain that lingers is the loss of relationships

    But the words that continually go through my mind and have become a mantra are from the young woman motto
    I always remember for years saying it when I was a teacher in young women’s. together we would stand and say the words “stand for truth”… that is what I try to do every day and that is why I cannot be a member of the church. it takes courage to stand for the truth
    But first you have to be willing to search for the truth !!
    How can anyone say that searching for truth is wrong? Truth is light! truth is enlightenment! truth is always good! truth should guide us in all we do!
    That is why it is so hard for me to comprehend how people would say truth is evil, and stay away and be afraid of it

    What do you think Alex

  16. Hi Alex, thank you for sharing your story so eloquently and honestly. Thank you John, for your dedication in assisting others to tell their stories.
    Alex, all the very best to you and your family in your healing.
    John, I cannot believe you thought Tom Jones was American, haha too funny. 😛
    Cheers,
    Joanne

  17. Alex, thank you for sharing your story. I find myself in the place you were 18 months ago, asking so many questions and not finding many answers. Polygamy has been a massive issue for me since i was an early teenager (I’m now 30) and the idea of it being part of the eternities makes me feel sick. I am married with 3 children and have tried to talk to my husband about how i feel. He has told me that if i left the church, he would leave me. He then rephrased it and said we would have to have a serious discussion.

    I now live a life that lets me keep my family together, but not makes me happy. I am so glad you and your wife have been able to leave together and find happiness. I hope for the same some day.

    1. Berrecka
      You have really touched my heart. I understand first hand your pain and lived with it for many years. I am older and further along the path of life so perhaps some perspective may bring you comfort. The principle of polygamy is demeaning to women. To be told it is an Eternal principle and the order of God and that some day you will understand and like it is beyond comprehension. It simply is not so. You are looking to the wrong sources for answers. Protect yourself and your children from such destructive modeling. Study accurate history. You will find your answers. As a woman you are moving into the years of more maturity. It is fine to ask others opinions but only as a means to gather information not to make up your mind.
      Joseph Smith liked women! He did not have a monogamous nature. He found polygamy and polyandry a way to satisfy his appetites and minimize children he might father. He wrote Section 132 to control Emma and still have his way. He then buried polygamy in masonic/temple ritual to silence members with penalty of death and hide his vices.
      When your heart tells you so strongly something is not right trust it! Please do not waste another precious moment of your life in pain because of this nonsense,. I mean honestly….Who is this God???

  18. This interview was so good and helpful to me. Thank you, John; thank you, Alex. This particular interview touched me very deeply. I love the honesty, the intelligence and the integrity shown by Alex. I wish you, Alex, your wife and your children the very best.

  19. John, and Alex,
    This was an interesting interview. I have listened to many podcasts, and read many things from different sites. I find myself looking at my life, and the influence the church has had on it, the experiences I have had, the things that have been taught, and I don’t find in my heart the same kinds of opposition to the leaders, the doctrine, or even the imperfect history that has been presented in and out of the church. I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ profoundly. I find that the church teaches it better than any other group throughout the world and helps its members live it really well. That is not a knock to others who I admire, but I just don’t see the evidence of another group that teaches the gospel as clearly, and as powerfully as do the Latte-Day Saints. When people who leave the church say they still find good morals, and that they are still able to have those morals, I wonder if we were completely secular throughout the history of mankind would that still ring true. It feels to me that people say that to make themselves feel okay in their hearts, and while I don’t find anything wrong with holding on to an inner core, I just wonder if that core would even be there without a history of faith throughout the religious complexities of earthly life.
    I believe there is real good and real evil in the world, it is palpable and literal and not just some idea I have been brought up with. It is just as real to me as the sun, the moon and the stars. And for me personally there is just absolutely so much of a good force and energy in what I have been taught and what I have seen in the church, that it is hard to understand how the foundations and the course the church has taken beyond its foundations could be rotten to the core.
    In addition, the spiritual experiences that I have had have been unmistakable. Also, the evil in my life has been unmistakable. If I have wondered anything in my life, it is how can my core sometimes that desires to do good and right, make some of the poor choices that I have made. My questions in the church, are usually why do we do the things we do to ourselves and to each other when we have been taught the Christ-centered principles. So my beef with truth and veracity, is why have I not personally always stayed true to what I know to be good, and why have I fallen prey at times to things that I knew to be rotten. I have doubted infinitely more in myself then in what I have been taught. That is what sometimes makes church difficult for me is feeling like I am blessed with the very best recipe for a good, productive, peaceful, and charitable life, and a sure road-map to a Christ-centered life, but somehow my inner-desires of being good get trumped with my hypocrisies.
    Can it be that the source of the church is Divine, and yet the hypocrisies of Prophets, Saints, and sinners alike are what sometimes make the building creak and crack, even to the point of making good saints and sinners feel betrayed? But is the Cornerstone stayed trued the entire time. I question why many and I can’t say the majority because I just don’t know and would be generalizing, but many people seem to stop believing in the Cornerstone of Christianity as well. And I just can’t wrap my heart or head around that. I have analyzed Christ’s teachings, and find them true and faithful, and just have a hard time understanding why often the ultimate undercurrent pulls people not only out of the church, but out to a lonely sea of complete disbelief in Christ’s teachings as well.
    I am also not sure why we look at history with our current modern lens and try to put context into the past through our own more progressed understandings. Why can’t it be okay that Prophets were also imperfect sinners, why can’t the foundations of the early saints not be filled with the good, bad, and the ugly and yet still be amazingly inspired. Why can’t Prophets have wrong-headed opinions and still be led according to their faith and desires, and the willingness of a Loving God and lead us by the spirit towards Heaven. And in all this, the Latter-Day Saints don’t have a monopoly on the messy yet Divine foundations, teaching, and histories. The Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the teachings of Spirituality, the teachings of Buddhism, and Hinduism, and more than likely are all full of the same types of things, yet they all have good in them too. Do we leave all of it behind because it isn’t everything we thought it would be, or that those that held those traditions fondly and fervently taught them with rose-colored glasses?
    I see a similar vein in the historical moorings of our countries foundation as well, and a similar movement towards tearing it down as well because it has not always been the more-improved union that it is now.
    My heart longs to understand all of this, yet aches that what I find a powerful and deceitful undercurrent that ultimately pulls most away from everything we have held dear and true. I ramble, but at my inner core this is where I am in all honesty. I am not trying to be contrary to everyone’s experience, but I just have not contextualized myself away from the things I know are real to me, simply because of the truth that this life and the influence it has on all of us ultimately makes us all look a little fraudulent and hypocritical. Do we disavow ourselves because of it, or our imperfect friends, families, parents, our communities, our country, and our faith for the same? I actually see not just the Latter-day Saints getting rocked by these things, but all of society, and I just don’t really like the writing that is on the wall, and the inner voice that says that it is not right path to take.
    I do admire an honest heart, and that is why I keep listening to the many differing voices. And though it concerns me deeply that people are getting hurt and confused by the voices, that I personally believe are genuine, yet in my estimation are also deceived, I believe that things will work themselves out and God won’t cast aside the honest in heart. That is the one thing that keeps me moving on in my own hypocritical yet honest struggle to do the very best I can with what I have been taught and given in life. I believe the Atonement of Christ has enough grace for my history, my doubting, my hypocrisies, and that His Atonement will have the same grace for the Church, it’s Prophets, it’s Saints, it’s Sinners and those of all other persuasions of life who are honest in heart.

    1. David, you must be a Church apologist. As to the Gospel of Jesus Christs I want to relate a quick story. Two weeks ago I phoned a former friend, whom I had been very influential getting this young man to go on a mission, was extremely influential in helping him find his companion, and had toured some of the western U.S. with him playing music. On the phone, I asked him why he had had almost no contact with me in over four years. He replied that because I had stopped attending and had lost my faith, I had let him down. His comment still saddens me: “i will never, ever forgive you for dropping from the church.” Is this the Gospel of Jesus Christ from an active man from a very active family?

      I, too, was very impressed with your humility, Alex, having been in that position some four years ago. You will probably remain a part of Mormon culture most of your life. I did, even if I have been shunned by most of my former friends. The first few years are rough but they do get better. The day my shelf broke, I drove around in a small town near my residence and I cried for many hours. Sure, my wife was with me, but I was like a boat adrift in rough waters. My wife and I are so much happier in many ways than we were with all the control, but it is still hard that our daughter’s family with 5 grandkids rarely visit us and we are pretty sure why. But life goes on. Like you, we will continue to love our fellow man because of how good that makes us feel.

      Alex, your story should help many who have had or who will have questions about the church. You have done a terrific job!!! And thanks to you, too, John for helping all of us in all countries to transition out of the church and into a freer society.

      1. not a church apologist, just a plain spoken regular run of the mill member who struggles just like everyone else and far removed from any ounce of importance in the church. I only seek understanding, not ever wanting to get into a place where I am mad at others, or have a heart that even feels like I have to forgive someone for choices I see as genuine. But seeing how the things discussed affect all of us in one way or another, I want to understand it. I do have people I love that have gone through some of this, and usually in silence, or usually not talking about it to me probably thinking that I will get too self-righteous and try to save them. I want to love them, understand, and develop a sincerity that allows relationships to exist, and even to grow and blossom no matter the choices people make.

        I am not sure about someone letting me down….that is putting too much stock into my own self, and pitting myself over another soul. I probably fit into the category of more feeling like others feel let down by the church or by fellow saints, and that saddens me because the experience does not always have to be that way. We can learn from others and that understanding may make the future better even for those who find themselves hurt and doubting.

    2. David,

      You had a number of good thoughts, but I would like to comment on one that perhaps you could look at from another perspective. You stated: “My heart longs to understand all of this, yet aches that what I find a powerful and deceitful undercurrent that ultimately pulls most away from everything we have held dear and true.”

      Your analogy of an undercurrent, gives additional food for thought. Growing up in Southern California, I spent many hours in the ocean body surfing, and on some days with large surf with strong undercurrents or rip tides as we also call them. We were taught and learned from experience,  to not attempt to fight or swim against the undercurrent or rip tide, as it would cause quick exhaustion and possible drowning, as it has caused in many cases. It was best to actually go with the flow or swim out and away from the direction of the beach, into deeper water, until this undercurrent subsided. This course to escape the problem seems at first frightening perhaps, because we are going further into the unknown or deeper waters, and yet it ultimately can save you. The other way or choice to escape this undercurrent, which often occurred during large surf, could also be a bit frightening or challenging….that was to catch a large wave, that would carry you over the rip tide and to the safety of shallower waters, and a walk to the beach.

      Likewise, this religious undercurrent of doubt, questioning and research, can be frightening, and we want to, at first, resist and fight against it. If we have the truth, what is there to fear? For many in the church, we are simply tired of fighting against these “undercurrents” or trying to use the mind games required to make them work and sustain them in our lives. We prefer to question, research, and swim into to deeper waters or risk catching a frightening large wave, to carry us to an eventual peace of mind.

      Not all those who leave the church, “pull away from everything we have held dear and true”…..there is no “deceitful undercurrent” that is pulling us away, unless you are referring to the church now being more open and honest with its history. Are you suggesting the Church Essays are the “deceitful undercurrent”, or is it the “half truths” and “false narrative” of church history, that most of us grew up with. Alex gave us a perfect example of this, describing how the church, with illustrations, have shown Joseph translating the Book of Mormon, with one hand on the gold plates and a feather quill pen in the other hand, writing down the translation. 
       
      Alex, made it quite clear, as have countless others, that they are thankful for great parents that taught them good principles, found in all “pure religion”….such as the 13th Article of Faith,  forgiveness, and faith, hope and charity…..not to mention all the great experiences as youth growing up with great activities and other kids with good standards.

      I’m sure if you asked people of other faiths that have pulled away from activity or complete belief in their churches, that they still respect the good things that their faith or traditions taught them.

      The sad irony of Mormon doctrine, (as with many totalistic religions), that promotes family togetherness for the eternities, is causing pain and division to families in the precious little time we have “in the here and now”.  Just ponder the mental conflicts, family conflicts and pain that resulted from polygamy, polyandry, the priesthood ban, and the Temple experience, including Temple Weddings…..oh, we’re sorry Brother Brown, you won’t be able to attend your daughter’s wedding because you drink coffee. Or the bride and groom get to explain to their younger brother and sisters, that can baptize for the dead, but they can’t attend their wedding!  Think about it….use your heart…does that feel right in your soul? For many past and current struggling members, the Temple experience is Not something they “hold dear”. How much more suffering will occur in the church, until the day will come when the Temple Wedding policy, will be added to the list of other past corrected revelations, or “mistakes of men.”

      I, like Alex, and so many others, will always love our wonderful parents, for the great life we had along with all the good pure parts of the gospel principles, along with the love for art, music, nature, and all that is good. We will always hold dear, parents that lived the 13th Article of Faith, and that is what I’m sure Alex and his family will continue to do, as will I.

      Keep up your desire to learn with an open mind….a great quality!

      And Alex, if you read this, I thank you very much for your wonderful heart, courage, honesty, and love of life, and love for people, to care enough to share this with us!

      1. good analogy and perspective, and food for thought. Thanks for being kind in your remarks. I don’t have it all figured out, glad there are communities in our day and age where dialogue can occur, and hopefully increased understanding and many sides of important issues. I have often wondered if our/mine/or both leaders at the local and general level ever look at sites like this, are reflective and prayerful and if so, I wonder what some of their thought have been on a whole range of these concerns and issues. I would love to spend a day or even a week seeing a respectful dialogue on the weighty matters. Everyone at the table, in a respectful way. I am curious how that would turn out, what would be learned by all concerned.

      2. I’ll be honest, this has brought a genuine tear to my eye. So much is painful yet the world has never been more beautiful and wonderful to me. EET, I can’t thank you enough for your comments.

        1. Thank you very much Alex, again, for your life and message of love.

          My wife also enjoyed your story very much. Her parents served a couples mission in the Manchester area, back in ’83-’84, and years later we returned with them to attend a big church celebration in Manchester. President Hinkley spoke at that event. What I remember most, was hearing a wonderful rendition of England’s unofficial anthem, Jarusalem . . . a beautiful song with lyrics by William Blake. Thank goodness England, and all the great music that sprang forth from your great land!

    3. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. I’ve many ideas and responses to what you’ve said but for a while I won’t reply as it needs a lengthy riposte and for the next day or two I’m on my mobile, my thumbs wouldn’t survive!! Hehe. I just want people to talk and discuss and you’ve paved the way for that so thank you.

    4. Hi David,

      We appreciate your powerful response and agree with a lot of what you said! We are in the same boat as you. We see the deceit on both sides of this argument, affecting many we love and care about. We’ve been watching Mormon stories podcast and reading both sides of church history for over a year now. What we’ve come to realize is neither side is all the way right. Both sides have to do mental gymnastics to get everything to fit. It’s sad to see both sides subscribe to an “all or nothing” philosophy that has been passed down as truth. Like Joseph Fielding Smith when he said “there is no middle ground”. However, the church has so many problems, and so much good, there has to be middle ground.

      You asked the question “Why can’t prophets have wrong-headed opinions and still be lead…?” Serious transgression such as polygamy, aka serial adultery, causes a loss of priesthood power no matter who you are, prophet or not. D&C 121:36-37 says that unrighteousness = “Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man”. However, we believe the church still kept the priesthood keys, and that is how the “cornerstone stayed true”, as you said.

      It’s hard to see members of the church be bigoted with church history. However it’s also hard to see bias on the other end. We relate with the WHY of the path many have chosen when leaving the church and would be taking the same path except for a few variations in our paradigm.

      One of those is Joseph Smith. It seems people either believe he was a con man or believe he was a prophet who did no wrong. We’re in the middle, all alone it seems, with the belief that Joseph was not a “false” prophet, but became a “fallen” prophet. And fallen does not mean that many things he did BEFORE he fell are now ruined or not true. Why do so many people believe someone can repent and become good but not believe someone can be good and then become bad / fall? And that person becoming bad does not erase the good things they did earlier in their life or change history.

      Another variation in our paradigm is about the church’s claim that it is the one true church. It seems people either believe it’s 100% true or not true. We are also in the middle on this one. People from many faiths have testimonies that their church is true, so which one is true? We believe any church that is doing good things for humankind is inspired by God. Here’s one major paradigm shift we’ve had lately. The problem with using the word “true” to describe any church is that the word “true” is an absolute, black and white word. NO church on the face of the earth is 100% true / free from error. We cringe every time we hear someone say “I know the church is “true”. We believe the LDS church is the “truest” but definitely not 100% true. Where does the church get its claim that is it the one true church?

      We think D&C 1:30 is an example of why many believe the church either has to be 100% true or not true. The tricky thing with this verse is it’s very similar to Jacob 2:30 – it contains parenthetical phrases and can easily be misunderstood. Many misread this and think that the Lord was saying His one and only true church has been fully restored. If you can get around the confusing parenthetical phrases, you can see the Lord is talking about a group of people (the early saints) that were given his commandments / the Book of Mormon and they would have power to “lay the foundation” of his church, and inferred is a construction project that would be a process. We can’t find a scripture where Christ has said His church is all done. If it’s not completed and somewhere between foundation and finished, then there’s going to be a lot of things that are not true. When Jesus Christ himself is speaking at the pulpit in the Conference Center, then it will be “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” And who knows how many other religions and groups of people He will include in His church. (An example of this taking place is in Fourth Nephi when all the people became united in one faith and there were no more “ites”.) This is one major reason we have chosen to stick it out with the church. We really feel like we are needed and can make a difference with this construction project.

      The church is responsible for much of the stress and pain people go through when they find out about church history and find out how manipulated they’ve been. If the church would just be honest about its history it wouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s like the Primary lesson about the kid with the empty backpack that slowly piles up with rocks as he tries to cover up lie after lie. You’d think church leaders would listen to their own simple primary-aged teachings about telling the truth, and save their members from the stress of finding out they’ve been lied to. :/ We should say at the same time though, we believe the church leaders that have the power to make meaningful changes are somewhat like the rest of the membership, just keeping things on their shelf, and are afraid to look at them. So they may not be as guilty as we’d otherwise think. We like to give the benefit of the doubt  Elder Ballard gave a talk in regional conference like 2 months ago admitting to this. He said something about how they outsource “scriptural and historical interpretations” to Fair Mormon. John Dahlin posted a recording of here on his site. So who knows how much they really know??

      The last reason we are choosing to remain in the church we will post in a separate comment because we think this may be longer than the character limit.

    5. The last reason we are choosing to remain in the church is the Priesthood Keys. If you believe Joseph smith was ever inspired, as we mentioned earlier, then many of the Sections in D&C are real, important, revelations.

      We went and looked through every scripture in D&C and the BOM having to do with Priesthood Keys and Priesthood Authority. We have come to realize Keys and Authority have some unique differences from each other. Church leaders have used Authority and Keys interchangeably, the same way “priesthood” is used interchangeably with Power or Authority. We don’t have a problem with Priesthood as a synonym for authority or power. We do have an issue with the LDS.org definition of keys: “Priesthood keys are the authority Heavenly Father has given to priesthood leaders to direct the use of His priesthood on earth. Here’s one way Keys and Authority are actually really different. In D&C 121:36-37 it says that unrighteousness = “Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man”. Based off these verses, Joseph and the leadership of the early church would have lost the priesthood, the authority and power, because of polygamy. Yet if you search D&C for “Keys” you will find scriptures stating that “Keys” of the kingdom have been given to Joseph Smith and the Twelve, and will never be taken away (D&C 90:3 and D&C 112:14-15). These scriptures would cause the Lord to contradict himself, unless Keys and Authority are separate things.

      Joseph dug in his heels towards the end of his life and claimed he had the Keys, and therefore the Authority. However, at that time Joseph was living polygamy and was unworthy of priesthood power and authority. Therefore we need to question his claim that holding Keys automatically meant he had Authority.

      The church did lose its Authority.

      But what about Keys?

      We believe you can have Keys without having Power and Authority.

      Jesus Christ himself holds all the Priesthood Keys. And if he told Joseph he wouldn’t take them away till he comes again (D&C 112:15), he either changed his mind, or the LDS church still has the Priesthood Keys. Righteousness isn’t a prerequisite to holding Keys, or he would have made sure to state that somewhere in a revelation to joseph like he did for Authority and Power (D&C 121). Less-than-perfect men holding offices in the church can pass on Priesthood Keys because they are not their Keys. They are borrowing them from Jesus Christ. One has to be righteous to know what to do with the keys, but we believe they were indeed passed down through generations to today.

      We believe that the Lord does not take away Keys of the kingdom, but they can be lost, as with Christ’s original church. If the essential positions that Christ created, such as the 12 apostles, don’t exist, then who is there to hold the keys? In the case of the LDS church, the succession of Keys has not been broken since Joseph Smith.

      In April 2010 General Conference, President Packer said “We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.” We believe this principle taught by Packer is true if the word “Keys” is used instead of “Authority”. Referencing back to D&C 121:36-37, there couldn’t be Authority out in the world at a different level than Power because Authority is taken away the same time Power would be, due to unrighteousness.

      The lds.org definition of priesthood keys is almost right. This is how we would say it: “Priesthood keys when combined with priesthood power are the authority Heavenly Father has given to priesthood leaders to direct the use of His priesthood on earth.”

      Here is how President Joseph Fielding Smith should have said it: “Keys are the right of presidency; when combined with power they give someone authority to govern and direct all of the Lord’s affairs on earth.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1972)

      Power + Keys = Authority

      1. Ryan and Carrine,
        I have both seen the authority or keys of the Priesthood be exercised by inspired men and women and have also seen the power of the priesthood be exercised throughout my life both by absolutely refined men and women and also by those who had to repent along the way of things both big and small. Some of those experiences get lost when we start examining individual lives of Prophets, leaders, saints and sinners alike because we forget and don’t allow for the absolute truth that none are perfect practitioners of the gospel light, all fall short, and all sin. The balance of good and of the inspired is so large that it gives me pause as to the argument that it is all so corrupted/corruptible and that somehow despite the millions of reasons as to the worth and the truth and the goodness of the church and its teachings and its practices that it’s origin is a fabrication of the lowest order. As a very simple student in the gospel, I never had in my heart, nor was I taught that our leaders were infallible. In fact, I found it strengthening to my testimony that in the scriptures themselves that are not hidden to the world, that Joseph and the early leaders were chastised and rebuked and lovingly guided back on track on many occasions by the Lord himself. Most charlatans would have a hard time showing their failings to the whole world, and producing a portrait of reality that was less than favorable of themselves. To me it has always been so that throughout the history of the world imperfect, yet diligent repenters were called upon to do amazingly impossible and difficult things, to lead aright wicked generations, to introduce concepts and teachings that they themselves found strenuous and difficult, and much more than this as a means for the Lord to accomplish his marvelous work and a wonder in all of our lives.
        There is a lot missing for me in analyzing the history of the church, first and foremost is context. I have my reality of my own experience, I have my judgement and my learning and perspective from today. My own experience lends me unequivocally to say that despite the failings of my own self and those on my journey that the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the teachings and the practices of the modern day church saves souls and has real goodness and power that is unparalleled as a whole when placed in contrast to other organizations of faith. My judgement is not large enough to judge away the complexities of the past, but I do feel that learning from our past allows our faith community to become so much the better, and indeed our history shows that it has. Perspective also is important, it seems the co-mingling of our political experiences in this life are leading some to judge the past too harshly and to buy in to the idea that if something was truly inspired that it has to be at full throttle or at 100% understanding and implementation from the on-set. For example, blacks and the priesthood, or women and the priesthood, or LBGTQ saints acceptance in the Church. We are to impatient to be led 40 years in the wilderness to the promised land, and we judge those who lived the 40 years in the wilderness as not being led by God because of the lived experience of those being chastened, prepared and refined.
        In any of this I am not trying to diminish those who feel betrayed, or who have come to conclusions that I have not, or feeling that what they have experienced and learned has been so traumatic and destructive to their once deeply loved faith that the only alternative is to step away taking the good and leaving behind what they feel is not so good.
        I am a believer, a seeker of understanding, and just curious why so many are going through what they are going through. I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet in the sense that he somehow lost the power and the responsibilities of the Kingdom. I don’t believe Brigham or Wilford with their weaknesses, opinions or sins were fallen either. And my experience throughout my life is that on the contrary those who have led locally and generally throughout the church have blessed humanity and the church tremendously, and that power and authority and revealed truth has been present in word and deed. I also believe the power of the atonement has been work in their lives and in my own, not always full sway but magnificent nonetheless.
        Every controversial issue that I have examined carefully, has led me to believe that we make mistakes and we are allowed to learn through them and from them, and though we have not arrived nearly where we could or should have arrived at in how we live and breath the gospel and how we carry and conduct and exercise the limited powers that God gives us, that the best is yet to come in how we love and treat each other and in our understanding of God’s love for us as His children.
        In saying that, i also don’t believe that some of the things that hurt us are as well informed as we think they are. The learning of men is something both valued and warned against by God. Ignorance has no excuse, and over-playing what we think we know can have regrettable consequences.
        Thanks for taking the time to share, you spent a great deal of time and heart into your thoughts and leanings. They are thought provoking.

        1. Every time I read a long winded reply like this it leaves my brain in a knot!!!
          Is God really this complicated???
          Isaiah 43:10 paints a pretty simple and straight forward answer and also contradicts the Mormon theology on God or God’s……..God speaks loud and clear in this verse!! Simple, clear, easy to understand!!

          1. Sorry for being kong-winded. Not sure I understand how that verse has any bearing to what is being expressed though…feels like an oversimplified disregard to having difficult conversations.

          2. Really, you don’t understand it’s simple, it’s easy, it’s quoted from God. He is the only God “EVER” non before him non after! He knows no other God’s! Isaiah 46:9……Trying to justify the right or wrong in Mormonism or true prophet vs. fallen it doesn’t matter because these verses and others proves its all false another man made religion. Mormons teach and preach about God having a father and his father and we too can become God’s it not true along with all the other Joseph Smith made up theology. Doing back flips in your brain to justify whether Mormonism is right or true or whatever, only side tracks you from following the only ONE God and ONE true gospel that is NOT found in brick and mortar buildings or religions or through any prophets now days. The word of God was spoken by Jesus who was God in the flesh and it was simple. He taught LOVE, kindness, forgiveness, etc. NO religion!! Religions distort God and his gospel and change it to check lists, guilt and shame and a business. That’s not the gospel Christ came to give us and die for! It’s simple, it’s easy, find your relationship with only God and trust in only God! Then you will be enlightened and truly find peace!!
            God Bless!!

          3. Well said Sandy…and well quoted! Simplicity in relationships, whether with God, Jesus, or even just friends, is so much better when conducted in short, simple, comprehensive terms. What does wordiness accomplish? Usually nothing!

        2. David,

          I’m sure you have a good spirit, honest heart, and want to do what is right, and I am in no way questioning the good aspects of what can be found in the “pure religion” part of the gospel that you speak of. These basic humanistic gospel principles for most people commenting here, are not the problem. You also stated, “I am a believer, a seeker of understanding, and just curious why so many are going through what they are going through.” May I share some thoughts that I hope will help you with your understanding, or at minimum, seeing from another perspective.

          First of all, perhaps the primary reason that you are “curious why so many are going through what they are going through”, is that these matters are not discussed at church…not from the pulpit, or in the various Sunday classes. Church is not the place for questioning, but rather to share faith promoting talks and lessons. If there are people at church with deeper questions, they soon learn it is best to remain silent, or at least very mild with their questions. Testimony Meetings, as well, are for faith promoting experiences, and not for sharing other deep concerns from the heart that question faith.

          Your concluding statement was: “Ignorance has no excuse, and over-playing what we think we know can have regrettable consequences.” Consider your statement from another vantage point, as we have seen played out throughout history, with wars between and within religions, for what they “think they know”. This very warning or complaint has been leveled at Joseph Smith, by his own chosen leaders and followers in his own time, and it did have consequences. The truth of these matters will continue to be debated, questioned, abandoned, and embraced, long after we are gone.

          Keep up the honest search!

  20. Alex
    Loved your podcast. Enjoyed your pure and honest expressions of seeing things for the first time with disbelief. Like the Church I am a part of believes “What?” Kind of sobering. It sounds like you are in the midst of deciding how these new/old facts will affect your life. It is so much an individual thing. Complete change can only happen when we knock all the blocks over and rebuild again in a new way. Some people don’t want to completely rebuild and others do. It does not matter as it is what is right for your life. Just because your decisions do not make sense to others does not mean they are not correct for you. There is no room in the Church for the individual who questions or challenges. Only complete obedience, silent voices, and agreement of thought is acceptable. Some people like that. They have found their place. Others are suffocated, conflicted, incensed and shocked. They also do not choose to give away their voice and mind. Be happy in your decisions. Change can be brutal but so liberating and when you can see the sun and breath fresh air again it is magnificent! My best to you and your family.

  21. Thankful for this story and for all the Mormon Stories from UK. I have felt very alone for a long time. I have wrestled and still wrestle with my faith and have gained comfort from this site over the past years. I thought for so long it was only my American brothers and sisters who were facing these issues and I felt isolated. I feel these stories will pave the way for creating a community of support closer to my home in Ireland. Thank you.

    1. Emma, there is lots of support out there. Don’t feel alone or like you can’t talk with anyone. It’s important you feel strength in your journey. There are plenty of ppl who would love to talk through things with you. It might just be reading or listening to podcasts that might help. Thanks for your support. I’m here if ever you want to chat 🙂

      1. Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply. Thank you for your kindness 🙂 I am plucking up the courage to talk more openly and it is such a relief. I will try and find strength in the journey.

  22. I have the exact same story as you do. I thought you were reading pages out of my journal while you were talking. So amazing how people all around the world go through the same process. I love your wife’s response. I was lucky to have a husband who responded the same way. I knew I was finding the truth when he found it also. I don’t believe we both are wrong. Although it has been very painful, I am so happy that we went through it. Our lives are much happier now. Thank you to John because he has given us so much good, honest and correct information. Can we just have a big dance party somewhere and get all these great people together?

    1. Hi Ksmith, thanks for taking the time to reply. I’m happy to hear you and your husband have been able to work through it together. That is priceless. Yep I’m always up for a dance!!

  23. Eric’s humility and sincerity in searching for truth really struck a chord with me. I appreciate his example and am grateful that he was willing to share his story. His experience has helped soften the blow I feel I have taken from finding out about the true history of the church. (As a side note to John- I am yearning to hear more stories of women. I truly LOVE the work you do so please don’t think I am complaining. The stories you have put out there have changed my heart and provided comfort I haven’t been able to find from the church, but I was wondering if there are women out there who have stories that are similar to all the men you have had on. It seems like when I do get to hear women, it’s always in conjunction with their husband, which has been great, but I would love to be able to hear some stories from just women who navigate the waters of faith transitions. I’m wondering what perspectives and help they could share, especially for us women who are struggling. I’ve enjoyed the stories Gina has featured with women, but would love to see more women’s stories on Mormon Stories.)

  24. Thanks for your excellent podcast. My wife, June and I, listened carefully to what you had to say. We can thoroughly identify with every aspect of your story. We live in Scotland, and my wife, myself and my seven children have all resigned from the church within the last 2 years. It has been a difficult journey/transition for us all and we empathise with your heartache and feelings of loss and regret. We have also felt these things. We believe that the decision that we have made to leave the church is right, and it brings us great happiness that we no longer belong to a church which whitewashes the past and teaches part truths. We just want to wish you and your family the very best for the future.

  25. Alex, I served in Hull under President Bowen in 2001. It was my very first area and my first experience in England besides the Preston MTC (I’m from Utah). I had to smile when you talked about it. I adored the people! Did you ever meet Jon Sims? He was a Hull 2 member but he seemed to take in all the missionaries. Looking back that was my favorite area.
    Anyway, I loved hearing your story and I admire your integrity. I wish you the best and thanks for sharing your experience!

  26. John,

    I’m loving the UK interviews, keep up the great work! It is so great to hear about the stories from across the pond. You’ve set a really high bar for yourself.

    Thank you so much for the work you are doing.

  27. Alex
    I just wanted to thank you for this podcast. You were my favourite Cbeebies presenter, but I didn’t know you were a member. Your sincerity is so evident in this podcast. I wanted to thank you particularly for your comments about feeling embarrassed. That’s my big problem, 40+ years worth. Hard to work through. And guilt about teaching others, and also the comments about not grieving fully. Thank you so much for addressing these issues, I was shouting “yes!” at my screen, at hearing them addressed. Wishing you, and your wife and family, peace and joy.

  28. Hi John,

    If you’re not afraid of our position, then you should have no problem posting our comments and watching the dialog go. Our comments don’t fit your description of “mean, nasty, or rotten” and are constructive. If you weren’t willing to let both sides of the conversation be heard, then what good would Mormon Stories be? Many complain about the church narrative being biased. Do you want the Mormon Stories conversations to be guilty of being biased as well? Maybe you just haven’t had time to post our comment yet, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. We are sending another separate comment in a few minutes. We hope you will post it as well

    Thanks, Ryan and Carinne White

  29. Hi John,

    Thanks for staying up so late to record this podcast. We listened to all 3 hours and really appreciate the work you’re doing. Thank you so much. It is clear to us that your ultimate desire with your work has been to create positive change. We can see how many have turned to you for healing. You have been an invaluable tool for many to make healthy, meaningful changes.

    Alex, thank you as well for being so open and honest. You mentioned affirming spiritual experiences you’ve had. Jeremy Runnels and Chris Johnson dismiss these previous experiences as not much more than psychological self-fulfilling expressions and mind tricks or emotions. Can you imagine if those experiences you talked about were from a divine, perfect, loving, better than what anyone has described, source? What you could imagine by thinking of all the most positive, good, exciting, peaceful, happiest times you’ve experienced in this life, and what you’ve felt around the people you love? Even this is not enough to describe the real ultimate source of your spiritual experiences. Wouldn’t this be worth proving correct if it were real? If there was proof of this reality, hiding in the complex foundations of the LDS church? We believe that it can be found

    You mentioned your reassuring belief that if you were wrong, you could appeal to God’s lack of intervention with prophets in this life. We had a similar thought process when we were first researching church history. However, we realized if we were going to purge beliefs, we needed to start more from ground zero.

    For example, where did we get the idea that prophets are perfect or can’t ever lead us astray? Jeremy uses this assumed belief when commentating throughout his letter, but it’s simply not true. It has been incorrectly taught in the church for many years and perpetuated here. One main quote is from another Polygamist prophet who, like Joseph, was also lacking in priesthood power during the time he lived polygamy. The quote comes from Wilford Woodruff at the time of the Manifesto “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this church to lead you astray”. But his teachings also need to be questioned the same way Joseph’s should. Church leaders are not God-like, infallible men. They are mortal, like all human beings. God never has and never will take away the agency of any man, even a prophet.

    To say that “God directs His prophets and wouldn’t allow a “big mistake” like polygamy would also be saying that God takes away agency when he feels it necessary. Taking away agency is not God’s way. God has allowed many sad things to happen to the human race throughout all of history because he allows everyone their agency. Prophets are no exception to the rule. They can make minor as well as major mistakes.

    It seems that imperfect church leaders have been getting in the way of God’s will since the beginning of time. If the old testament has any truth, then it is full of examples like Jonah, David, Solomon, Jacob, Moses, Saul, etc.

    When we started on our faith journey, we were looking for stability and settled reasoning. Jeremy Runnels and others offer a relatively quick and convenient path compared to starting from ground zero. Authors like Jeremy use a list of assumed beliefs that should instead be purged by the person reading through the material. The problem is, trusting their route requires you to not look under the bonnet of another clunky, junky car. Just taking Jeremy’s and other’s word for it that they’re selling you a good one. If we don’t question EVERYTHING, and take more responsibility for ourselves instead of relying on others to feed us “the truth”, we’re in danger of just trading one junky car for another. Many of Jeremy’s conclusions are true, but some are not. Many principles taught in the church are true, but some are not. We need to look under the bonnet ourselves for BOTH cars and not let anyone tell us they looked for us and it’s all good.

    We have watched so many people, while questioning and researching, make the same mistakes we’ve made. One of the most obvious difficulties to us, came because we were taught so many mistruths from the church when we were young. The passing on of incorrect theological paradigms through generations is hard to detect in ourselves. Some people do not question all of what they have been taught when going through a faith crisis, and choose only some beliefs to purge, without even realizing it.

    Another mistake we made on our faith journey was assuming all church leaders have the history figured out and are just being dishonest. While some may be more guilty than others, we believe many of them are just like the rest of us, with things on their shelves too, but a lot more pressure and support to not look at it. One way they remain this way is by hiring Fairmormon to look into issues and in turn are given a biased interpretation of the facts. Many are psychologically snapped and in a stop-thinking mind frame. They are not perfect, infallible people that see and talk with Christ every day. It’s crazy to realize the prophets and apostles today have been brought up “brainwashed” just like the rest of us. Many of their direct grandparents were leaders in the church. It would be even harder for them to step back and see things the way they really are than for most people.

    Back to Chris Johnson’s video about spiritual experiences, and the CES letter. We really like Jeremy’s letter and his willingness to be honest on many issues. It has been a great resource for our own search for truth. But some of the material in his letter is twisted and not true. We have noticed Fairmormon do the same thing when they don’t have real answers.

    Another problem in his letter is when he says God’s way of revealing truth is through feelings. We believe feelings / emotions can be a RESULT of a spiritual experience, or may accompany a spiritual experience, but they do not CREATE it. We have had spiritual experiences that are not just feelings. They are tangible and real, and feelings have come as a result of these experiences. The miracles we’ve witnessed, or the miracles Christ performed while on Earth are also very tangible and could never be created out of “feelings”. How does anyone explain all of this? They can’t, using Chris’s theory.

    In Chris’s video, if we remember right there is not one single “testimony” example in this video that is free from extreme emotions / feelings. This does not necessarily mean these people had a “spiritual experience”, but may have gotten it confused with feelings. We hear this all the time on Fast Sunday when people get up and cry but what they’re saying has nothing to do with the gospel (telling a story about their dog, etc.)

    On the other hand it’s very likely that some of the people in the video had spiritual experiences. Spiritual guidance is not exclusive to the lds church. The video mentioned how people from many faiths have gained testimonies that their church is true. We believe it. We believe any church that is doing good things for humankind is inspired by God.

    Some of the people in the video may also have had these feelings come accompanying a spiritual experience from a negative source. That’s where you get creepy people that do bad things and think it’s ok. As a side note, the narrator himself is also over the top with the weird “emotions” he uses in his voice, thus influencing people to feel weird when they watch it. If he can get people to “feel” weird, or “feel” something, then they’re more likely to care about what he’s saying.

    Alex, we posted a comment to David, another commentor on this page, explaining why we believe Joseph Smith wasn’t 100% good or 100% bad, but these are the only 2 main stories being told. It seems people either believe he was a con man, a prophet who did no wrong, or it doesn’t matter how wrong he was because he was a prophet. We’re in the middle, with the belief that Joseph was not a “false” prophet, but became a “fallen” prophet. And fallen does not mean that many things he did BEFORE he fell are now ruined or not true. The history is very difficult to figure out but we have a method to make it easy. We use a timeline of when he was worthy and not worthy as a filter. Why do so many people believe someone can repent and become good but not believe someone can be good and then become bad / fall? And that person becoming bad does not erase the good things they did earlier in their life or change history. We brought up this and a few other points to David that we think you’ll find interesting. We would love to hear your feedback and keep the dialog going.

  30. My faith transition from the LDS faith was a gradual process. Difficulties in social things at church lead me to inactivity which I won’t go into here. Around age 29 I had an emotional collapse and I stopped attending. It was tough being inactive and sought positive internet places and happened unto John’s youtube video “why people leave”. I found “stayLds.com” in 2011. In 2014 I decided what to do with my involvement with the LDS church but felt I couldn’t stay involved for various reasons – one reason being how gay men and lesbian women are expected to live by the church, which I felt wasn’t fair of the Church.

    Since then I questioned the validity of the Bible and that alone, if one does online research and other reading, I conclude is more a mythical story narrative. Things like the flood, Adam and Eve, ancient patriarchs living many hundreds of years, Moses parting the red sea, and so on make me question the origin of Christianity. It’s a great story.

    I guess what does one do after you stop believing in Mormonism and even the bible ? I haven’t stopped believing that some “higher intelligence(s)” are behind how life got on planet earth. Whether that is God or alien life I don’t know. But one thing for sure I feel like I have been “unplugged from The Matrix” and I feel there are alternative explanations for how humankind got on planet earth and one can’t necessarily expect to lean on Mormonism or Christianity for that answer.

  31. Hi John,

    Thanks for staying up so late to record this podcast. We listened to all 3 hours and really appreciate the work you’re doing. Thank you so much. It is clear to us that your ultimate desire with your work has been to create positive change. We can see how many have turned to you for healing. You have been an invaluable tool for many to make healthy, meaningful changes.

    Alex, thank you as well for being so open and honest. You mentioned affirming spiritual experiences you’ve had. Jeremy Runnels and Chris Johnson dismiss these previous experiences as not much more than psychological self-fulfilling expressions and mind tricks or emotions. Can you imagine if those experiences you talked about were from a divine, perfect, loving, better than what anyone has described, source? What you could imagine by thinking of all the most positive, good, exciting, peaceful, happiest times you’ve experienced in this life, and what you’ve felt around the people you love? Even this is not enough to describe the real ultimate source of your spiritual experiences. Wouldn’t this be worth proving correct if it were real? If there was proof of this reality, hiding in the complex foundations of the LDS church? We believe that it can be found

    You mentioned your reassuring belief that if you were wrong, you could appeal to God’s lack of intervention with prophets in this life. We had a similar thought process when we were first researching church history. However, we realized if we were going to purge beliefs, we needed to start more from ground zero.

    For example, where did we get the idea that prophets are perfect or can’t ever lead us astray? Jeremy uses this assumed belief when commentating throughout his letter, but it’s simply not true. It has been incorrectly taught in the church for many years and perpetuated here. One main quote is from another Polygamist prophet who, like Joseph, was also lacking in priesthood power during the time he lived polygamy. The quote comes from Wilford Woodruff at the time of the Manifesto “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this church to lead you astray”. But his teachings also need to be questioned the same way Joseph’s should. Church leaders are not God-like, infallible men. They are mortal, like all human beings. God never has and never will take away the agency of any man, even a prophet.

    To say that “God directs His prophets and wouldn’t allow a “big mistake” like polygamy would also be saying that God takes away agency when he feels it necessary. Taking away agency is not God’s way. God has allowed many sad things to happen to the human race throughout all of history because he allows everyone their agency. Prophets are no exception to the rule. They can make minor as well as major mistakes.

    It seems that imperfect church leaders have been getting in the way of God’s will since the beginning of time. If the old testament has any truth, then it is full of examples like Jonah, David, Solomon, Jacob, Moses, Saul, etc.

    When we started on our faith journey, we were looking for stability and settled reasoning. Jeremy Runnels and others offer a relatively quick and convenient path compared to starting from ground zero. Authors like Jeremy use a list of assumed beliefs that should instead be purged by the person reading through the material. The problem is, trusting their route requires you to not look under the bonnet of another clunky, junky car. Just taking Jeremy’s and other’s word for it that they’re selling you a good one. If we don’t question EVERYTHING, and take more responsibility for ourselves instead of relying on others to feed us “the truth”, we’re in danger of just trading one junky car for another. Many of Jeremy’s conclusions are true, but some are not. Many principles taught in the church are true, but some are not. We need to look under the bonnet ourselves for BOTH cars and not let anyone tell us they looked for us and it’s all good.

    We have watched so many people, while questioning and researching, make the same mistakes we’ve made. One of the most obvious difficulties to us, came because we were taught so many mistruths from the church when we were young. The passing on of incorrect theological paradigms through generations is hard to detect in ourselves. Some people do not question all of what they have been taught when going through a faith crisis, and choose only some beliefs to purge, without even realizing it.

    Another mistake we made on our faith journey was assuming all church leaders have the history figured out and are just being dishonest. While some may be more guilty than others, we believe many of them are just like the rest of us, with things on their shelves too, but a lot more pressure and support to not look at it. One way they remain this way is by hiring Fairmormon to look into issues and in turn are given a biased interpretation of the facts. Many are psychologically snapped and in a stop-thinking mind frame. They are not perfect, infallible people that see and talk with Christ every day. It’s crazy to realize the prophets and apostles today have been brought up “brainwashed” just like the rest of us. Many of their direct grandparents were leaders in the church. It would be even harder for them to step back and see things the way they really are than for most people.

    We had one more thought about Chris Johnson’s video about spiritual experiences we’ll post in a separate comment.

  32. Alex, about Chris Johnson’s video, and the CES letter. We really like Jeremy’s letter and his willingness to be honest on many issues. It has been a great resource for our own search for truth. But some of the material in his letter is twisted and not true. We have noticed Fairmormon do the same thing when they don’t have real answers.

    Another problem in his letter is when he says God’s way of revealing truth is through feelings. We believe feelings / emotions can be a RESULT of a spiritual experience, or may accompany a spiritual experience, but they do not CREATE it. We have had spiritual experiences that are not just feelings. They are tangible and real, and feelings have come as a result of these experiences. The miracles we’ve witnessed, or the miracles Christ performed while on Earth are also very tangible and could never be created out of “feelings”. How does anyone explain all of this? They can’t, using Chris’s theory.

    In Chris’s video, if we remember right there is not one single “testimony” example in this video that is free from extreme emotions / feelings. This does not necessarily mean these people had a “spiritual experience”, but may have gotten it confused with feelings. We hear this all the time on Fast Sunday when people get up and cry but what they’re saying has nothing to do with the gospel (telling a story about their dog, etc.)

    On the other hand it’s very likely that some of the people in the video had spiritual experiences. Spiritual guidance is not exclusive to the lds church. The video mentioned how people from many faiths have gained testimonies that their church is true. We believe it. We believe any church that is doing good things for humankind is inspired by God.

    Some of the people in the video may also have had these feelings come accompanying a spiritual experience from a negative source. That’s where you get creepy people that do bad things and think it’s ok. As a side note, the narrator himself is also over the top with the weird “emotions” he uses in his voice, thus influencing people to feel weird when they watch it. If he can get people to “feel” weird, or “feel” something, then they’re more likely to care about what he’s saying.

    Alex, we posted a comment to David, another commentor on this page, explaining why we believe Joseph Smith wasn’t 100% good or 100% bad, but these are the only 2 main stories being told. It seems people either believe he was a con man, a prophet who did no wrong, or it doesn’t matter how wrong he was because he was a prophet. We’re in the middle, with the belief that Joseph was not a “false” prophet, but became a “fallen” prophet. And fallen does not mean that many things he did BEFORE he fell are now ruined or not true. The history is very difficult to figure out but we have a method to make it easy. We use a timeline of when he was worthy and not worthy as a filter. Why do so many people believe someone can repent and become good but not believe someone can be good and then become bad / fall? And that person becoming bad does not erase the good things they did earlier in their life or change history. We brought up this and a few other points to David that we think you’ll find interesting. We would love to hear your feedback and keep the dialog going.

    1. Forgive me for being direct Ryan and Carinne, I am not attempting to be rude – but your approach seems rather inane to me. So now you have decided that Joseph is a fallen prophet, but that doesn’t mean what he did previous to falling wasn’t good and true, if I am understanding your point correctly. Seems to me you are making things very complicated and twisting yourselves into pretzels in the effort to make everything come out right. Sorry, but I much prefer the direct reasoning of Alex, Jeremy Runnels, and those of similar ilk to the contortionist approach you appear to me to be using! Nevertheless, if it works for you and makes you better people as a result, have at it!

      1. Hi Frank,

        Yes that is exactly what we’re saying. We do realize this idea makes things “complicated” for people that have already committed to or accepted one of the two major narratives already established: The church’s narrative, or the narrative like Jeremy Runnels’. But it’s most definitely not complicated for us. It’s crystal clear. We think it could be beneficial for you to take a look at all of your pre-supposed beliefs that you’ve bought into with the narrative you accept, and realize some of them come from your prior belief in the church. For example, your belief that Joseph was all or nothing, true or false. That idea about prophets was fed to you from the church, and you forgot to question it. Also with a little introspection, you may realize your reply sounds a lot like a close-minded TBM’s might sound.

        1. Exactly what is it that is “Crydstal Clear”? I am nnable to even determine [follow] what it is you are advocating!

          1. Hi Frank, if you read through our first post to David and our first post to John and Alex and there is something that doesn’t make sense to you, we can clarify. What we are advocating is basically what we’ve written in those two posts.

        2. Hi Ryan and Carinne,

          I think a Christian response may go something like this, a belief in Christ does not require a timeline as Christ was perfect. Therefore build a direct relationship with him and not one filtered through a human being requiring uncertain timelines.

          A timeline involving Joseph Smiths life is difficult as he would have done things that you cannot trace through historical sources. A belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet is well known in Church history eg William Law ( see ‘Rough Stone Rolling’).

          I think you make a good point about people still adhering to their earlier black or white binary approaches. However does not the more ‘complicated’ approach lead one into ‘shades of grey’.

          Good luck and God bless.

          1. Hi Michael,

            We really like what you said about building a direct relationship with Christ. It’s good advice we all need. It is true that a lot people know about Christ and if it weren’t for people that learned about him and shared it with others, many would not even know about Him. So everyone has to start somewhere.

            It is true that church history is difficult to sift through, but it seems like most the big stuff is recorded and accessible, unless church leaders are still hiding stuff like the 1832 account of the first vision, hidden till the 1960’s. He was a very prominent figure and there is a lot more information about him than there is about most people, i.e. journals and diaries of the day.

            We have read William Law’s letters and the Nauvoo Expositor. We appreciate his integrity and bravery in helping to expose Joseph as a fallen prophet. Unfortunately, church leaders tried to cover up the evidence, so the concept of “fallen prophet” never took flight within the church. Likewise it hasn’t taken flight today, with few people discussing it. And those few are not claiming the lds church still has the keys of the priesthood, as we are.

            The timeline we’ve applied to church history using the polygamy unworthiness filter has actually made things much more clear to us. Using this timeline to reexamine our beliefs, we have felt an incredible freedom and happiness as each domino of false doctrine connected to polygamy, and Joseph’s unworthiness, has come tumbling down. It’s amazing to realize how many negative beliefs are purged. It has changed and is changing our lives profoundly.

    2. Ryan and Carrine,

      Not too long ago John Dehlin, did a survey on why people leave the church. I’m sure, most of these good people, like John himself, tried very hard to make it work….harder than we will know. They did not leave, because they “bought in to” (as you stated) the false narrative, after reading the CES letter, or the Church Essays. For many, leaving the church evolved over many years of experience, and for many, the questioning began, with their first trip “going through the temple”….often at the young age of a missionary.

      The idea that Joseph was a “fallen prophet” is not breaking news, and has a small cult-like following. I agree with Frank be Frank, that this idea misses the real problem of the foundational truth claims that came forth before polygamy. Why try to continue building on something that has a very shaky foundation to begin with? You are at best, left with a building on a shaky ground, or no foundation at all. If the Book of Mormon was man-made “inspired fiction”, polygamy and all that followed is irrelevant, to any doctrines or priesthood that followed.

      There are variations on this theme of the church going off track, starting not with Joseph Smith as the “fallen prophet”, but rather, the church left orbit with Brigham Young. The fun doesn’t stop there. Perhaps you’ve heard of Christopher Nemelka….a new prophet like character, who claims he translated the “Sealed Portion” of the Book of Mormon, and is the new messenger of the Real Truth, including authoring a number of books on the subject. You get the idea, and more examples are not necessary.

      To end on a positive note, in honor of Alex’s great spirit, the spiritual and wonder in life is simple,..it is right in front of our eyes and ears, and as Alex stated in one of his comments, ” the world has never been more beautiful and wonderful to me”.

      1. Very good comments, Enwood. You are obviously a very good, sensible, and I will bet, intelliget individual who knows how to keep it simple!

    3. After I found so many flaws in the Church’s historical record, I began to study the Bible in the same way. Along the way, I discovered that of all the world’s Christians, none were more open than those in the UK. The BBC has many, many discussions on the existence or non-existence of god. “The Big Questions” is one show that you need to watch online. In their discussions, you will hear from lady rabbis, Anglicans, vicars, Muslim experts, Catholic priests, homosexuals, black Christian fundamentalists who believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God, atheists, agnostics, Quakers, and many more.

      Of all of the Biblical scholars I have listened to, my favorite is Francesca Stavrakopoulou, a 40-year old Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter, schooled at Oxford. She, along with Richard Carrier of Columbia University have determined that, outside of the Bible, there is no evidence that Jesus even existed. And if by some chance someone named Jesus lived in Israel at that time, he was only a rabbi, not divine. Both scholars talk a lot of civilizations which preceded the Hebrew Bible by many hundreds of years, and from studying their works you can learn that there have been many gods who die and were resurrected on the third day and of many other similarities not exclusive to the Bible. I would highly recommend you and Alex to research these scholars and watch “The Big Questions” hosted by Nickie Campbell.

      So if Jesus did not exist, what does that tell us about Joseph’s declaration of seeing the Godhead? While in the Church, I never thought about researching the Bible and its origins, because I though we Mormons had the only truth on the earth so why study anything else. I want to thank those in the UK, for really opening my eyes, and giving me an interest to study the origins of both the Bible and Christianity. Alex, you have a great country where people are not afraid to openly discuss issues such as morality, church and state, God and gods, Islam, the Koran, Christian orthodoxy, evolution (which in itself destroys Joseph’s age of the earth number), and so much more. I wish the U.S. would take some lessons from our neighbor across the ocean!

  33. I am an Evangelical Christian living in Northern Ireland. My husband and I have listened to several episodes of Mormon Stories and we have noticed that many of those who become inactive or leave the LDS church cite the Mormon Church’s attitude to women and the LGBT lobby. It seems to us that the LDS church is liberal on the issue of homosexuality and to back up our claim we cite Mitt Romney wishing the LGBT lobby a “great Pride weekend” back in 2002. Romney is pro-LGBT rights yet was never disciplined by the LDS church. Marie Osmond supports “gay” marriage and she has not been disciplined.The Marriott Hotels advertise lesbian and “gay” holidays and they were never disciplined by the LDS church. Salt Lake City recently voted to name a street after Harvey Milk so it appears that the LDS church is very liberal on the LGBT issue. Unlike miry Mormonism, the Bible is in no way liberal on homosexuality. The Bible, in the Old and New Testaments, describes that activity as an abomination, and my husband and I, as Bible-believing Christians, stand with the Bible. LDS doctrines such as polytheism, Adam-god, polygamy, temple ceremonies, mother in heaven etc., are not found in the Bible, they are the figments of Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s imagination. It is these doctrines that should lead Mormons out of Mormonism and keep them out, not some imagined hard-line stance on homosexuality because as we have said, the LDS church is liberal on the homosexual issue, although in its public pronouncements it attempts to give the impression that this is not the case. In other words, in this matter, as in other matters, the LDS church speaks with forked tongue.

    1. Susan Ann-White, since you and your husband stand by the Bible as believing Christians, why do you not follow all that God said in that book? Why pick only what you think will prove your argument? Maybe God was not happy with Romney because he did not go far enough. In Leviticus, God said that homosexuals should be killed. Do you not go along with God on that command? How about Leviticus 20 where God tells his believers to kill adulterers? And surely you do not approve of the holocaust, but yet in Joshua, God commanded the children of Israel to kill every man, woman, and child. And do you approve of slavery? It is rampant in the Old Testament and Jesus even clarified the behavior of slaves to their masters. If you say you are a Bible believer and follower, maybe you need to follow all rather than some.

      And, although the story of creation seems to tell ecumenical fundamentalist Christians that the earth and humanity is only 10,000 year old, making the argument of evolution a moot point, yet according to the 20007 PEW Research report most U.S Christians believe in at least some form of evolution.

      Some LDS members may support LGBT but only the President of the Church expresses what the Church believes, and the most recent policy statements are not pro-LGBT. I wish they were.

  34. Thank you very much Jon for another very interesting and eye opening interview, thank you Alex for sharing your insights, l found you warm hearted funny honest and caring and like most of us eager to learn truth at all costs, thank you Jonn for putting these uk interviews together, you are and have been doing such a wonderful job for all people out their and l do hope we get to learn more and more truth and that there is more and more transparency within the church, so that people can discern for themselves what to do with it, hi Alex to you and your lovely family from your fellow uk resident, l really appreciated your interview and by the way your a great help to those out there seeking, so thank you so much for sharing, l look forward to more similar interviews of this kind, when you go back to the states Jon you should interview Donny Osmond, that could be interesting in many ways, thanks again Jon and Alex it was great to listen to you, l wish you your wife and family every happiness and success in your future spiritual journey together Alex, god bless you all.

  35. Alex, thanks for sharing your story. I had the opportunity to serve in your wonderful land. My first area was in Caerphilly and so we were in one of the Cardiff wards. This was back in 1987. Then I have a good mate that lives in Dewsbury or is in that ward and there are some missionaries who had served in the Bristol mission that were from the Leeds area. I too would like to go back and apologize to the British people that I taught and to the very few that I baptized that I deceived them. We would tell them how great our church was because we could be with our families forever but not telling them all the little conditions and events that have to occur before that ever happens. I feel guilty about the tithing issue when most Brits are dealing with the high cost of living. I regret that we made games and contests out of baptisms. However, I don’t regret serving there, meeting and talking to the people, and making life-long friends.

  36. Thank you, Alex, from the bottom of my heart. I am always astonished when someone who is not gay is able to feel compassion and even a sort of empathy for those of us who are. From your interview, I learned that questioning the LDS stance on homosexuality was one of your first ‘wait a minute’ moments. And in the second part of your interview, you shared how you recently attended a same-sex wedding in a spirit of genuine celebration and joy. Bless you!

    I was raised Mormon and went through the entire program, including mission. My family – good people, to be sure. But unlike you, not one (at least to my knowledge) has ever been piqued by the same ‘wait a minute’ questions and concerns. Their ability to love me now as an out, gay man, is strictly defined by the parameters supplied by the Church. What I wouldn’t give for a family member to simply say, ‘tell me your story,’ and believe me.

    And that bring me back to you, Alex. Your words were like a healing balm. Not just for the LGBT aspect, but your entire interview – your sincerity, goodness, search for truth and desire to light the way for others. It inspires hope. We can do this together. Big hug across the pond.

  37. Dear Alex,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your story of discovering truth and finding your way out to spiritual liberation and a real shot at happiness for you and your family.

    It always saddens me when I hear truly decent people (such as yourself) leaving Mormonism and then expressing doubt or disbelief as to whether Life After Death is reality or not and whether we will ever see our loved ones again after this Life. This is totally understandable when one figures out that the Church is a fraud, so then how many of its teachings having nothing to do with Joseph Smith are also BS? Fair question, to be sure.

    My closest brother died a couple days before two Christmases ago. It was a deep loss for me and triggered me to go online to see what the current thinking about life after death was all about. I soon discovered a psychologist/author named Michael Newton. I read his books and was frankly blown away by his discoveries about Life After Death that have nothing whatsoever to do with any religion. He was an atheist without any interfering bias from a religious affiliation. What he discovered from more than 7,000 hypnosis clients in his office is what I would call the most startling and amazing discovery of my lifetime, Alex.

    I wrote about my experiences with Michael Newton a year and a half ago on the exmormon[dot]org Recovery Board. I encourage you to read all about it here:

    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1634572,1634913#msg-1634913

    This information was a paradigm changer for me. See if my sharing resonates with you, Alex. If you decide to engage with Michael Newton’s writings, I think you will be more than pleasantly surprised.

    Thank you again for sharing your story. You are helping more people in pain than you will ever imagine.

    All the Best 2U and your family!

  38. I don’t know if it is the British Accent, but I think Alex’s view is well-thought out, honest, and very well-said. I have been listening to Mormon stories for years now and it is still cathartic to listen to these interviews and reaffirm my conclusions on the church. Thank you a million times!

  39. Hey John, why aren’t you posting our comment to Enwood? What we have to say isn’t anything to be worried about. If anything, what we’re saying could increase your audience on Mormon Stories by exponential numbers if the narrative we’re discussing catches on. It’s just like Clay Christensen said when you interviewed him, “News Flash, no one is watching Mormon Stories” [from within the church]. We think some are, but not very many, and this narrative is a way for members to look at church history and not feel threatened by it.

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