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    1. No kidding. I find it troubling that John believes that only liberals have trials of faith or that people leaving the church would automatically associate themselves as politically liberal. Perhaps it is true. I do not know. My sense is that people who leave want to distance themselves from everything that they associate with the church which in many cases is a republican/conservative viewpoint.

      My 16 yr old son has been growing away from the church for a year or so and has begun to reject anything that resembles boy scouts. Why? He feels like the scouting program is part of the church. Church = Bad.

      I am out and my wife and daughters are still in, but I am still a libertarian leaning republican and cub master in my families ward. I must not fit the Mormon Stories mold.

      1. GM – One of the main reasons I did this interview was to try to “break” the perception of a Mormon Stories mold. FWIW, in some of my questions I was trying to play devil’s advocate and raise issues that I feel needed addressing…like my prior assumptions that everyone who listens to Mormon Stories is liberal/progressive politically. So please understand that this is one of the main reasons I did this interview…to help conservative/Republican listeners feel represented, and to explore others sides/perspectives. Sorry if it was confusing. I genuinely do have respect for Dems, Repubs, Libertarians and basically everyone else. I genuinely believe that all sides have worthy perspectives. And I definitely want all to feel comfortable listening to the podcast. I’m sorry for miscommunication in the past. I’ll try to do better.

      2. You might feel personally slighted, GM, but I’m not sure you can take John to task on this. While data-supported generalizations are never true down to each individual, they do show patterns and tendencies. We have plenty of anecdotal information to support the perception that conservatives are more religious. We also have some statistical support for that position.

        From the Huffington Post:

        “In a paper in press at the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Jacob Hirsh, Megan Walberg and Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto asked approximately 1,300 people in the U.S. and Canada their political orientations. Then they measured respondents’ religiousness (e.g., how important they feel church services are) and their spirituality (e.g., whether they’ve ever felt deeply connected with the universe). They also assessed respondents’ personalities and personal values.

        The more religious a person is, the more conservative he is, and this relationship is strongly mediated by the value placed on tradition — respect for customs and institutions.”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-hutson/conservatives-more-religious-liberals-more-spiritual_b_1553460.html

        I don’t really consider libertarians and true conservatives the same species, but maybe that’s just me. I mean, as a libertarian, did you start to chafe at the saddle and bit the church makes most members wear? Perhaps I am guilty of more than generalizations and have wandered into stereotyping (God, no, please … I’m an enlightened liberal, after all) but your presence in this forum surprises me. What’s your story? Why’d you hit the eject button? Cheers.

        1. I feel like John is doing a wonderful job presenting all sides of issues. It is my perception that all too often he uses phrases such as, “… forward-thinking progressive..” when describing people who can see past the myth that the church offers. But again, that is my perception. I would not classify myself as “forward-thinking” but simply “thinking”.

          When I went through the temple for the first time in 1988 before my mission, I was more than a little freaked out. I never felt comfortable with it and would only continue to go because of peer pressure. After mission and marriage, I began to study the origins of the temple ceremony and things went south pretty fast after that. My wife did not take it well… to put it lightly.

          My wife is a super-strong TBM and wants no part of anything that is critical of the church. I stumbled on the site a few years ago while looking for stories of people with similar circumstances and several of the stories here have helped me understand my wife’s position, and gave me a small comfort in knowing that I was not alone.

          I enjoy listening to the stories and reading the comments (for the most part), because after 20 years I never found someone that I could talk to about the struggle. At this point, I am not convinced that I need to talk about it. It is what it is.

          1. Thanks so much, GM, for sharing a bit of your experience. I have found tremendous value in the support online forums like John’s provide. I quit the church without resigning more than 2 decades ago, but apparently never resolved some issues that came back to the surface. Like you, the temple ceremony was a total freak out–I really didn’t enjoy it and find no explanation of it acceptable today. For what it’s worth, I think there is support for you here, should you want it, and I believe your perspective and voice add a valuable element to the mix.

          2. GM,
            Thanks for sharing your point of view. I honestly thought John gave his fair point of view with regards to how it might be difficult to reconcile being a republican and leaving the church. Carrie candidly responded that she registers as an Independent but votes republican based on the capitalism and other reasons. I buy that. I would say I identified with many of the things she argued.

            I also appreciate your perspective and how you’ve been able to balance being out AND being married to a TBM. I’m going through a crisis right now and my wife said to me last week she doesn’t see how we can raise our kids, have a future together. I’m basically waiting for the holidays to be over to file and move on. I admire anyone’s resilience and willingness to coexist and wish I had that with my wife. Sadly, that’s not the case.

            All the best to you.

        1. John Dehlin, has already done a great survey on why people leave the church, and it does not start with politics. You can find it on Mormon Stories.

        2. You’re not paying very close attention if you think the LGBT issue is the sole reason J. Nelson-Seawright stopped attending.

  1. Fabulous interview. I have kids colleged aged kids and I’m very worried about how they will navigate Mormonism through these years. I think the church provides. good structure,good clean fun and social opportunities but I can’t imagine them holding onto the church with so much of the crazy history and current social policies. Right now they are unaware of most of the historicity issues. It’s inevitable that they will discover it at some point in their lives. I really hope they don’t go through a depression as most people do including myself when I discovered issue after issue. It feels like I’m leading them into a trap and I feel ridden with guilt. I’m married to a comitted tbm therefore church and missions are in the future (unless I want to look like korihor in the family). It’s sad to see so much sadness that the lds religion has caused people. Thanks again for another wonderful podcast.

    1. I had these issues as most of us on this Forum have had/have. I realized that I was angry that people I trusted, knowingly engaged in, at best, a “noble lie” in terms of promoting me a false history of the LDS church.

      Now that I have my own children, I decided that I would never lie to them. Let the chips fall where they may, you didn’t create this system and you should feel no duty to protect it.

      Ironically enough, this would be a tenet of Stoicism. Be honest, truthful and transparent. Few people want to be manipulated by somone else, so why do it to others?

      “unless I want to look like korihor in the family”

      Its not your job to manage your public image. Be honest, and your public image will be the same as you. You don’t control how others view you anyway.

      I have taken a great deal heat from my family and community for not encouraging missions. My children however, are appreciative for my candor and honesty about religion.

      I very much enjoyed this interview.

      1. Thanks David for your comment. I agree that parents need to stop hiding some of the ugly truths in Mormonism. It’s a really hard balance for me.

  2. Knock it off, Jared. You know the only thing about blogs and postings like these, is that they’re incredibly anti speech/expression. I’ve never seen more sensorship whether it be externally like yours, or internally like an outright deletion of comment, then in the blogesphere.

    The only thing worse than hearing something I disagree with is not hearing it at all.

      1. You are quite right Rude Dog. CaCoast, comparing characteristics of cats to Stoicism. In the words of Richard Dawkins, “thats barking mad”….and in the words of Christopher Hitchens, “its enough to make a cat laugh!” In my own words, try seeing the good in things before before dismissing them so quickly…like you admitted listening to “most of #506″…not the whole thing before you had your message all worked out for us.

        As Yvonne, in a comment earlier stated so appropriately, Ms. Sheffield “is a person of substance”, as I also commented earlier as well, and deserves some respect, even if you don’t agree with everything she says.

  3. It’s a marvelous work and wonder to hear how each of us make sense of and find our ways through the thicket we all must face—the spiritual/philosophical tasks to life. This was an important podcast because it demonstrates both the variety of experience, real diversity, a story different than so many we hear. Thanks. I may not agree with the politics of what I heard, but the role modeling for people who can take away another way to be is great.

    John, your restrained and respectful interviewing was masterful. Bravo! says this Crone, Bravo! John! I will enjoy an update interview every five or so years as you, Carrie grow and mature. Thanks for putting yourself “out there”, you are brave, intelligent and courageous.

    1. Deborah Aronson said: “John, your restrained and respectful interviewing was masterful. Bravo!”

      Agreed! You asked the tough questions without being argumentative and allowed her to speak. Twas indeed a masterful interview!

  4. As a totally uncorrelated and unorthodox Mormon who is also a political conservative, I’m frankly tired of being labeled racist, homophobic, warmongering who hates poor people. I’m 60 years old, grew up in a western European country with a huge safety net–and the latest “tax freedom day” in Europe, August 6th!!! how would you like that? I”m a conservative BECAUSE of my upbringing. I value individual freedom and the ability to strive and achieve. I’m not blind to social injustice. I didn’t grow up with any kind of silver spoon. Uchdorf’s story of growing up in Frankfort after the war is not far from my own–yes, really.

    What news do you read/watch/listen to, John? Your points on PPACA came straight from Obama’s talking points and every one of them was wrong! No, several millions don’t have insurance now that they didn’t have before at a price they can afford. The Admin claimed 8 million? At least 10% of those never paid a premiium–it’s probably higher but I don’t want to be accused of making stuff up, it was in the 30% range after a couple months but some eventually paid when they needed care. Several million of those 8 mil lost their insurance first, then had to purchase coverage at a higher cost because they had to pay for items they didn’t need, like birth control for a 50 year old, or a same-sex couple, for example. Those who are not getting a subsidy are paying a higher premium and those will go up next year. Letters are in the mail now. Those letters were supposed to go out in October–according to the usual timeline–but the Obama admin ordered insurance companies to delay until November so the news of higher premiums wouldn’t come out until after the election. People are purchasing coverage according to premium cost without realizing that they’ve got a huge deductible. “Navigators” are not knowledgeable enough to inform people as to their best options, but the Gov wants to hire more navigators. Costs will continue to rise, both cost of care and premium costs. There’s a whole lot more. As Carrie said–not just about the ACA but conservatism in general. it’s about the numbers.

    And for the record: I don’t like war but people who gas their own people and chop people’s heads and stone women will always be around so sometimes, we need war. I believe people have a right to choose their destiny, not just a group of people but each individual so that I am not opposed to my government helping others secure that right for themselves.
    I support gay marriage and know many R’s who feel the same way, especially younger people.
    I support a safety net. Some people just need help for various reasons. Mental illness is a horrible plague and those who suffer from it needs support. My experience living in Louisiana from the late 70’s to mid 90’s, at a time when it was nearly 100% in Democrats’ hands and had been since Reconstruction was that Democrats kept African Americans uneducated with promises of handouts but never a way out of poverty.
    Not sure what I missed here, But I’m done for now. I’ve just really had it with the tired cliches about conservatives on all the Non-correlated Mormon sites. I’m not indoctrinated in conservatism; I arrived at this place after much observation and study.

    And I’m not anti-immigrant; I am one. I know this is the place where dreams can come true if one is willing to work for it.

    And John….I still love you and owe you so much for the little sanity I have left. 🙂

    1. Agree with everything you said. I am a conservative simply because those principles and ideals work, at least compared to the Democrats. I also support civil unions and rights for gays (not quite ready for a redefinition of marriage), but I also don’t support the Mormon view of polygamy.

      I gradually came to realize that John was way to the left of me. But I enjoy his podcasts, perhaps because he does let his guests put forward their viewpoint. He might press them on their views, he might disagree, but never with rancor or mockery. That in itself is refreshing.

      I am thankful for all of the podcasts, websites, etc that are maintained by and for Mormons having a faith crisis. John’s Mormon Stories in particular have been so helpful to me in navigating my way thro and eventually, most probably, out of Mormonism. But I’m not there yet either. The parts of Mormonism I love, I love, but the lies, cover-ups, lack of meaningful Christ/God worship (I see lots of prophet/church worship, but not God worship) makes me sad and wanting something different.

  5. Well, if it is his purpose to interview every single person who left the church, then obviously he’s not out of material yet. There are still lots more of us out here!

      1. Out of material? Hardly! Each one of the stories I’ve heard has been fascinating for very different reasons. Each of us experiences our existence in a distinctively unique yet ultimately communal way. Perhaps it’s just the social scientist in me but if you can’t find substance in the life experiences and travels of fellow sojourners perhaps it is your own curiosity that is lacking.

  6. Perhaps this is the wrong format for it, but man it would have been nice to see some pushback on some of her political ideas. Especially when she kept claiming that the data was on her side. On almost every major issue of the Republican party—from economics to climate change to even social issues, the data is not on her side.

    1. It is good to back up what you say with data. However, it is not always enjoyable to hear such detail in an interview. It can get complicated.
      BTW, where is your data? I think it is amusing that you criticize her for not providing the data and yet you do not provide any data to back up your claim that the data is not on her side.

      1. The second part of the interview was over an hour long, so I didn’t want to counter every point she made in a single comment. My point is it would have been better to do it in real time as she was saying it. Anyway, DavideC actually has a pretty good list of data below if you’re actually interested in it. I’d add a few more things to it though.

        Economic arguments generally boil down to two different philosophies. Conservatives generally subscribe to “supply-side” economics—sometimes called trickle-down. The economy is driven from the top down. Give tax breaks to the rich and loosen regulations and the rich “job creators” will use their extra money to hire people and everyone benefits. On the other side, liberals see it as demand-side. When the poor and middle class are doing better, they buy more things which makes businesses thrives and everyone benefits.

        So where does the data point on this one? SInce Ronald Reagan, we’ve tried supply-side economics. Taxes on the rich have gone way down—most drastically under Reagan, but then again under Bush Jr. There’s been a systematic dismantling of the regulations that were put in place following the Great Depression. Most notably rules about how much capital banks are required to keep on hand, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall—the rule that kept investment banks separate from traditional banks that accept deposits.

        So how has that worked out? According to Republican philosophy, the tax breaks should have incentivized employers to hire new people and pay their employees more. The regulations should have caused business to thrive, because they were only holding them back, and capitalism left to its own devices will regulate itself better than any bureaucracy could ever hope to. Instead, we’ve seen the rich get richer—just as was supposed to happen, but the money never trickled down. Middle class wages are either barely growing when adjusted for inflation, or flat in some cases. And as for the banks regulating themselves, well 2007 happened.

        How have liberal economic philosophies fared on the other hand? Well, we’ve had a pretty good natural experiment the past 6 years—as natural as you’ll get in economics. Following the housing crisis that affected both the United States and Europe, you had two different approaches. Under President Obama, the US passed the stimulus and refused (at least initially) to implement austerity policies. If you were a conservative, this seemed absurd. Supply side economics said that the budget deficit was our greatest threat—even in the face of a depressed. According to them, engaging in stimulus was going to cause interest rates to soar and easy money would cause inflation to skyrocket—that’s what their models predicted. In Europe, at the insistence of Germany, they did exactly what conservatives in the US were demanding of Obama. They tightened their belts. Balancing the budget at any cost was supposed to instill confidence in business owners who would then go out and hire a bunch of people.

        How did that work out? Right now, we’re growing above 2% annually, we’re creating over 200,000 jobs a month, unemployment is below 6%, the stock market is up—nearly every economic indicator would tell you that we are coming out of this. Europe on the other hand? Still 15% unemployment, growth is either non-existent or in some cases threatening to go back into recession. If you believed in supply-side economics, Europe should have been your success story. They did everything right, but yet they’re spinning their wheels. And the catastrophe that they predicted in the US (we’d be some strange mix of Greece and Zimbabwe) never happened.

        We don’t have to look just to Europe though. Look at California and Kansas. (I won’t go into the details like I did above, but you can look it up. Hint: it doesn’t support Republican economics.)

        Other notable problems in her data: The parts of the study she cited about Medicaid didn’t tell the whole story. There simply hasn’t been enough time to determine whether overall healthcare outcomes have been effected since that takes years to materialize. But in almost every other measure those with Medicaid did better. They saw the doctor more often, they were 25% less likely to have an unpaid medical bill sent to collections, and were 25% more likely to self report being in good health. It also reduced the observed rates of depression by 30%, and reduced instances of having to skip paying non-medical bills as a result of medical expenses by 50%. Read about it here: http://www.nber.org/oregon/

        Also, she does a convenient thing that I’ve noticed Republicans doing lately when they talk about Obamacare. She says she likes some aspects of it—like the fact that you can’t deny people insurance because of a pre-existing condition, but she doesn’t like the rest. What people like this always fail to mention is that short of a single-payer system, no one has proposed a way of offering that very popular provision without the less popular mandate. To get insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, you have to get healthy people to sign up too—which requires a mandate. If you’re going to require people to sign up, you have to offer subsidies so that it’s affordable. You take any of those three things away and the whole thing falls apart. It’s a disingenuous argument at best to claim you like one, but want to get rid of the others.

        There’s also data about access to healthcare and contraceptives being a better deterrent to abortion than laws banning abortions, but I think you get the point. And don’t get me started on the environment. Too many problems there to even wrap my head around.

        1. Collin,

          I think I was a little rude to you. Sorry about that. You handle that exceptionally well. I sometimes say to myself, and my children, that when you think someone is displaying low character, respond with higher character without arrogance and with service in mind. This deescalates the situation and everyone benefits from the good example. You personified this ideal. My hats off to you.

          After I wrote my post I looked back at yours. I saw you thought it would have been nice to challenged her assertions during the interview. I understand.

          Unfortunately, we have a debt based economic system. Removing the banking regulations you sited was a step in the wrong direction in my opinion. It seems clear it lead to a financial disaster. I don’t think there was anything conservative about those reckless policies. Many republican politicians are not conservatives.

          Making tweaks to the current system does not test the ideals of conservatism. We have countless laws. Not even one person inside or outside government knows how many laws we have. There are enormous volumes of regulations written to implement the laws. The politicians can take a few away but turn around and add many more. Having so many laws and regulations weight us down in my opinion.

          Many conservative and liberals see the evidence that supports their beliefs. They see correlation and call it causation. Many of us suffer from confirmation bias. Since we will never see how our ideal system of government works without the contamination of competing ideas, we have to use mental experiments to project what it would be like if our governments laws were in the ideas state. What it comes down to is we have to exercise faith in our ideals because we cannot know if they work the best.

          I think we should vote and work to influence politicians to create laws that stem from the most fundamental principles we hold dear, and to get rid of the laws that don’t support our principles.

          I believe in maximizing freedom for everyone as long as they are not directly harming someone else.
          I believe I do not have the right to steel another person’s money/property.
          I believe the government gets all it’s powers from the people.
          I cannot delegate a power/right to the government when I don’t have the right myself.
          I believe the government should uphold contracts made between two parties.
          I believe we have the right to defend ourselves and the people around us therefore we can delegate that right to the government.
          I believe we have an obligation to protect human life and especially those who cannot protect themselves. If there is a decision between protecting human life or someones feelings or convenience, I will play it safe and protect human life because human life is more important than feelings or convenience.
          No one knows with absolute certainty when human life begins and until someone does, I suggest that we error on the safe side.
          This is my political faith.

          BTW, reportedly, some scientists e-mails were hacked revealing they were conspiring to fake results to prove global warming. The National Weather Service historical temperature information was shown to be tampered with making it look like global warming was real. Any time you believe a scientist, you are putting your faith in a woman or man who many or may not be honest or competent.

          1. Fun, I appreciate your response. There was certainly no offense taken. I should be clear too that although I disagree with much of what Ms. Sheffield said, I’m glad that John interviewed her and I hope he interviews more conservatives. The blogernacle/blabbernacle can sometimes feel like an echo chamber of liberal, disaffected Mormons. I think we all need to regularly challenge our own thinking.

        2. About the Medicaid study I think you’re conflating correlation with causation. The positive effects could have been achieved by the financial benefit of having the extra $$ available, and that’s something that could have been achieved through just a pure $$ handout. That doesn’t mean it was the healthcare itself. The problem with single payer that liberals don’t like to address is that it actually ends up driving a wedge in inequality even further. In practice elsewhere what we have is everybody on a crappy public plan and a very select few able to shell out $$ for private hospitals. What’s better would be trying to keep as many people in a private-based system while narrowly focusing on improving access for the uninsured. There’s an interesting conservative version of expanding healthcare that could be much more narrow than what we have now, from a scholar with the Manhattan Institute: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/mpr_17.htm#.VGIqvvTF_8k

          Let’s not forget also it was Bush that first stabilized the banking system in 2008 with the The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. And the subprime lending crisis itself was promulgated by the Clinton administration by weakening loan lending standards to borrowers that should never have taken out the mortgages.

        3. About the Medicaid study I think you’re conflating correlation with causation. The positive effects could have been achieved by the financial benefit of having the extra $$ available, and that’s something that could have been achieved through just a pure $$ handout. That doesn’t mean it was the healthcare itself. The problem with single payer that liberals don’t like to address is that it actually ends up driving a wedge in inequality even further. In practice elsewhere what we have is everybody on a crappy public plan and a very select few able to shell out $$ for private hospitals. What’s better would be trying to keep as many people in a private-based system while narrowly focusing on improving access for the uninsured. There’s an interesting conservative version of expanding healthcare that could be much more narrow than what we have now, from a scholar with the Manhattan Institute: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/mpr_17.htm#.VGIqvvTF_8k

          Let’s not forget also it was Bush that first stabilized the banking system in 2008 with the The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. And the subprime lending crisis itself was promulgated by the Clinton administration by weakening loan lending standards to borrowers that should never have taken out the mortgages.

          1. korihor or theshadowsflee or whatever your name is,

            You’re kind of missing the point of having insurance. Yes, some of those results could have been achieved by just handing out money—which we probably should do by expanding the EITC. But that few hundred dollars a month or whatever it would be wouldn’t be much help if you suddenly have a heart attack or get cancer.

            The report you linked to has some okay stuff that I might even support. It doesn’t explain, though, how you can get young, healthy people to sign up without a mandate, though. You need those people in the exchanges to prevent a premium death spiral. Even so, is there a single Republican in Congress who supports this proposal?

            I give Bush credit for going against his own party to get the bank bailout passed. There are tons of problems with it, but it did keep the banks from going under. And Clinton is not blameless in the financial crisis, but not for the reasons you think. Glass-Steagall was fully repealed under his watch, for example. The loans that brought down the banking system, however, had nothing to do with weakening of loan standards under Clinton. The CDOs and credit default swaps that did the most damage were fully creations of the private sector.

  7. The old adage that you can take the boy (or gal) out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy (or gal), sure rings true to me listening to the second segment of this podcast. Ms. Sheffield may not claim to be a Mormon any longer, but me thinks that what was bred in the bone, i.e., her Mormon Republicanism is quite intact. — “…the more I look at the data…” ROTFLMAO!!

  8. AFAIK John would LOVE to interview prominent faithful members. But by listening to both sides he is labelled “anti Mormon” and that makes a lot of faithful people hesitant to come forward. I could be wrong, and hope I’m not putting words in his mouth.

  9. It was funny to read Alex’s comment that this was the worst podcast. I had the complete opposite response. I have found CBT to be amazingly helpful in my life. It makes complete sense to me. I was inspired by the glimpses of stoicism found in the interview. I have a lot of new reading to do now. My exploration of church history, applying reason, led me to address other assumptions in my life and ways of thinking. It is reassuring to hear from someone else who had a similar journey and experience. Great interview John.

    1. I can definitely see this. The last hour I kept thinking to myself that the explanations Carrie proffered sounded eerily similar to the standard trope coming out of the average Mormon apologists. Same group-think, different topic.

  10. Most media types (and university professors) lean to the left. These are people who analyze data and think for a living. Hmmmm…..

    Good interview. I love the political talk. It will be people like Carrie who save the Angry-White-Guy-Republican party from themselves. Abby Huntsman next?

    1. The only academics that matter when it comes to analyzing political economy are people in those fields. English professors, literature, film, etc., (not to mention Hollywood) need to back down but they have disproportionate influence over young minds even though they don’t actually wrestle with data. Among those who do, there is vigorous debate, whether its the fresh vs. saltwater economists, Hoover school of public policy vs. Syracuse, WSJ vs. NYT, etc.

      America has the wealthiest per capita income, there’s no denying. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/income/ so if you’re redistributing from a much smaller pie that is not more generous since you’re starting from a much weaker place to begin with.

  11. I really appreciate all of the podcasts esp the ones of people whom have left the church because often these people have experienced the depth of pain I have felt in Mormonism. I appreciate that covnversations are candid and civil. No one is forcing anyone to listen to them and there are plenty of other podcasts groups on the Internet if you prefer more faith promoting. It’s like when people complain about a cable tv show they don’t like and it want removed from network tv. Well. Don’t watch the show!!!

    I can’t emphasize enough how much John’s work has helped soothe the pain I have felt in my life by connecting me with others whom have had similar faith shattering experiences. I’m still an active member of the church. Keep up the good work john.

  12. I wonder how Ms. Sheffield feels about those of us who analyze the data and come up with different answers. I mean someone might point to the data and say why is the average Canadian wealthier than the average American. Their Socialism should have done them in long ago. Here’s some more data. We are 7th in the world in literacy. We are 49th in literacy. 178 in infant mortality. We are third in median household income. Aaron Sorkin has a lot more of these. And it was curious to be compared to Japan. Why not compare ourselves to those western social democracies. When we do, the US doesn’t even make the top 10 happiest country list. Now Ms. Sheffield can not claim that this is do to our extravagant social safety net as outs really socks compared to many of these countries. In the end Ms. Sheffield seems fairly young. Perhaps with time she will learn to not cherry pick the data so much.

  13. Another wonderful interview on Mormon Stories! Huge props to John for offering political diversity. I completely agree with Carrie’s closing advice to be skeptical of everything whether it be with religeous or political affiliations. I think it can be a natural process for some when divorcing themselves from the orthodoxy of Mormonism to rebound on over to another orthodoxy such as rank and file democrats inorder to regain once more that sense of community and belonging(and maybe even a bit of self-righteousness) that comes with an organized ideology. I think the healthiest approach is to build upon that open-mindedness that led us to question our Mormon faith in the beginning and remain open to truth wherever it may be found. We shouldn’t let “party affiliation” cloud our view of what is best for society only because it goes against the bundled tenants of the new “home team” we now root for.

    The reality is there is amazing beauty to be found in the principles espoused by both the Democrat and Republican parties alike if we are open enough to see them and don’t get caught up in labeling them according to their radical fringes. In my faith journey I’ve found it helpful to avoid any “camp” of clumped ideology whether political or religous and just try to remain completely open to truth wherever it may lie. As Carrie mentioned, even though uncomfortable at first, it can be truly empowering and liberating. Thanks again for the wonderful interview.

  14. Having listened to #505, I agree with Alex. And I do not find his response disrespectful. Stoicism was popular in the early 70s, and I found it rather odd then too. Cats are stoic by nature, people not so much.

    1. Just finished listening to most of #506. For the sake of diversity, I can understand why you felt the need to interview Carrie. You gave her plenty of rope and it happened. John, you’ve got guts to listen to an hour of that.

  15. Hi John and everyone,

    For one who just goes ‘for the facts’, Miss Sheffield has pretty narrow understanding of what ‘facts’ mean, or deliberately choses to misrepresent them. To be honest, this list could go on forever. John, as a long-time follower I’d loved a bit more of fact checking and debate. It looks like you just let her pontificate all along. It was a bit annoying to be honest. Btw, this is what I think she got wrong:

    – “There’s never been this much wealth in the world”. Well, yes. But what is also true is that there has never been as much inequality (World Bank data 2008 onwards, for example, but you could go back all the way to the eighties). This virtually means that few people are getting richer than all the others, in a way that’s unprecedented in human history. As Miss Sheffeld surely knows (otherwise one might question what they teach at Harvard these days)aggregate measures of wealth do not give indication of inequality.

    – “CO2 emissions have gone down thanks to natural gaz, not regulation”. This might be true in the US, where Miss Sheffeld’s party and part of the democrats have been corrupted to the point of making of climate denial a mainstream point of conservative politics. However, if you look at Europe, emissions are going down because of regulation on corporations, public transport etc… (give a look at the latest IPCC report, for example).

    – “People who are on Medicare are less healthy than does who are not”, when talking about universal healthcare is hilarious. For two reasons. First, because free, public, universal healthcare is not Medicare nor Obamacare, which are subsidy systems, and not universal healthcare. Second, and therefore, the comparison would be totally different if she compared the US to one of the countries where there is real, public free coverage of health insurance (France, Italy, Spain, Cuba, the UK before the NHS reform…). She’d get quite different results.

    – It is very easy, when you are a white, privileged woman, to go telling the world of societies flourish under capitalism. This is also true if you’re reading of the world is limited to GDP indexes and growth indexes, which are neither absolute measures nor are they indicative of the wellbeing of a country, or its people. Capitalism has brought about economic development as well as serious mental health problems for those who live in it, widespread dispossession and poverty (did you know, Miss Sheffield, that 2014 England has the same rate of inequality as Nigeria? What an amazing time to be alive, right?), ecosystem damage. Of course, one has to add the accumulation of wealth by the North of the world and the transformation of the South in a global sweatshop where hunger, exploitation and death for overwork are everyday realities. Uh, and scramble for fossil fuel resources through warmongering in the Middle East. What an amazing time to be alive, for wealthy, white, Americans.

    I have to say that I have been following MS for about one year now, although I am not a Mormon and I’ve never been. This is why I’ve never commented.
    However, I’m not a democrat nor a republican, I don’t live neither vote in America, but I could not resist commenting on this one.

    1. I have a feeling that the data that’s leading her to conservatism is mostly contained in the check stub she gets from Fox News.

      1. “I have a feeling that the data that’s leading her to conservatism is mostly contained in the check stub she gets from Fox News.”

        Collin gets it.

        “…the more I look at the data…” — C.F.

        I’m still ROTFLMAO.

      2. Cute comment (not really), you should have just stuck with your earlier long winded comments/lesson on economics. You now just sound like another far left liberal jealous of successful people that work very hard for their money.

        Have you been to Detroit lately? I have earlier this year, and its not a very good example of liberal politics and unions. Take a look at the big picture while you consume all the data.

        1. Not at all what I was saying. She gets booked on talk shows because she’s a young, articulate, conservative—somewhat of a rarity these days. When your livelihood depends on you believing a certain way, what data could I possibly show you that would change your mind?

          1. Collin,

            Perhaps the readers here, have heard enough about the data, based on a number of previous comments filled with “data” interpretations. We don’t want a “Bible Bash” over the data. I simply asked you to look at the big picture of how the reality is being played out in our cities, job opportunities, and the quality of life, that most of us strive to improve on, for our families.

            I too, can say, as you, that a person’s “livelihood depends on you believing a certain way”…this, also applies to liberal talk shows and news reporters…it goes both ways. I also assume, that you appreciate getting compensated for “believing” in what you do in your own profession.

            Some of your analysis may be sound and I appreciate that both perspectives are trying to make it all work, and perhaps the best solution will include ideas from both approaches. For example, I think Carrie mentioned that, not being denied health care because of pre-existing conditions, is a good idea. I also agree with that.

            Based on the mid-term election results, the “big picture”, needs some adjustments, does it not?

    2. DavideC,

      Could you suggest and enlighten us on a better place to live, work, “flourish” and raise a family, than this country… and just a few main points to back it up? Perhaps that place is where you live now? If not, they why do you live where you currently live?

      I find it interesting that one of the great “liberal” thinkers and writers of our time, the late, Christopher Hitchens, chose to become a citizen of the USA, fairly recently. He had traveled all over the world, as a journalist, and writer, and chose this country primarily because of its unique Constitution and Separation of Church and State, among many other great characteristics.

      As an architect and having a great appreciation and love of art, and enjoy painting, I would love to live in France or Italy for a few years and see what it would be like for an extended period of time, beyond a month vacation. I’m sure I would love the culture and experience, but I would be going there for different criteria than what you are talking about.

      Anyway, on this Veteran’s Day, I am thankful to have grown up here in the USA, along with all my other fellow “privileged” white, brown, red, black, and yellow citizens…male and female.

      1. Dear E.E.T.,

        You may be delighted to know that life is worth living and may be fulfilling in many other places on earth besides the US. I am originally from Italy, and I lived in England, Belgium, West Africa and Central Africa.

        But let’s not be generic, and let’s ‘back it up’. Let’s talk about quality of life. Where I currently live, in Belgium, per capita GDP is less than in the US. But, for example, health expenses are also incredibly lower. And yes, that’s because, through our taxes, the state pays part of it. But guess what, we all pay less, because the same treatment/drugs costs us much less than in the US. To give you an idea, depending on my income, I could pay up to 30 0000 USD for a hip replacement. That would cost me in the US at least 100 000. Do your maths.

        One should also remember that in the US, the grass is not green for everyone. Conservative measures place the US poverty rate at between 15 to 20 % of the population. This together with the exasperate growth of inequality since the seventies, which is now a commonly accepted fact through ‘liberal’ and ‘progressives’ alike.

        So, again, the fact that you GDP per capita may be higher does not tell us much about how people ‘flourish’. This is a very superficial reading of ‘data’.

        Ms Sheffield and her reasoning, together with some of these comments, seem to suggest that (privileged) Americans have a right to enjoy their wealth even when it is built on the back of others. There is no consideration in her political analysis of, among others, the global distribution of labour and how profit is made by top American enterprises exploiting cheap labour in terrible working conditions in so-called ‘developing countries’.

        You may also want to consider the incredible amount that the US government spends on military expenses, which allows for geo-political control of resource-rich areas, at the detriment of local populations who are faced with war, arbitrary foreign political influence, political instability and mass death.

        Of course, you have every right to support ‘flourishing’ in such conditions. It is just a matter of putting up the hypocrisy and on having a frank discussion on how America maintains its place in the world. Of course, Ms Sheffield would argue from a stoic point of view that there is no reason why things should change, ad everyone should embrace his or her faith lovingly. Which, again, is very easy for someone who’s born in a well off family and the only things she had to struggle with were ‘being single’ and reading self-help books.

        1. Hello again DavidC,

          Thanks for your reply. You are certainly correct that I am delighted to know that life is worth living in other places on this wonderful earth. This is not a news flash. I hope you caught that in my first response to you, about my desire for my wife and I, to live in Europe some day, for a time, to experience that culture….even if it were for just a couple of years. However, we may not be able to afford it. We may not be as rich and “flourishing” as you like to think we “privileged” Americans are.

          If we do make it there some day, my wife and I would probably want to eventually return to be close to our children and their growing families and families to be….and as many discover, “you don’t know what you got ’till its gone”.

          The United States is not a perfect Utopia, nor is any other country, but ponder what the world would be like today without this great country, despite the flaws. Of course Belgium, is a wonderful place….cities like Bruge, etc. Are you not thankful, that Western Europe enjoys the freedoms it does today, and is thankful for the sacrifices that America has made to contribute to the freedoms we all benefit from? I know that Italy, France and England appreciate that fact. I have expressed appreciation and gratitude for diversity of cultures, countries, and their contributions to life. Can you share with us any appreciation at all for this country and people?

          1. Dear E. E. T.,

            I am very grateful for Western Europan living standards, not only to Americans who fought in war world two, but also to my grandparents who died on the hills of Italy to fight Mussolini for a better country.

            I will be moving to the US next year for some time, in academic settings. I could write pages on how good to Us academic system is, or many other things from the US and Europe I love. But that’s not the point, is it?

            What I’m talking about is arguing that capitalism is the best of possible systems is a lie, because while it created benefits for some, it impoverished the majority of people on the planet, and the planet itself.

            What I’m saying is that while the achievements of capitalism are great, it’s shortcomings outwight them, in my opinion. I find that most of Ms Sheffield opinions are pure rethoric, as is her take on ‘data’. Her reporting is fundamentally flawed in so many ways, some of which I addressed in one of my previous posts. I can see what her charm is about: she’s young and provocatively conservative. But someone who knows the data (on climate change, on health systems, of wealth and inequlity) will not buy her arguments.

            The fact that she went to Harvard makes me think that she’s fully aware of what she’s doing.

  16. The only academics that matter when it comes to analyzing political economy are people in those fields. English professors, literature, film, etc., (not to mention Hollywood) need to back down but they have disproportionate influence over young minds even though they don’t actually wrestle with data. Among those who do, there is vigorous debate, whether its the fresh vs. saltwater economists, Hoover Inst of public policy vs. Syracuse, WSJ vs. NYT, etc.

    America has the wealthiest per capita income, there’s no denying. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/income/ so if you’re redistributing from a much smaller pie that is not more generous since you’re starting from a much weaker place to begin with.

  17. I have to agree with some of the other comments. Her story doesn’t really resonate with me, but of course that doesn’t mean it won’t resonate with others.

    I think a lot of us have gotten used to John interviewing countless heavyweights in Mormon Studies, so it can seem a little jarring when it’s more of an average person being interviewed.

  18. I loved the podcast. Please have Carrie on again. It is so interesting to hear how people navigate the difficulties of life.

    However John, with all due respect, I have to say that your view of the republicans seems naively based on the democratic propaganda rather than fact. Thank you for being so respectful to Carrie as she expressed views different from your own. Very well done.

  19. I thought that this was a very interesting podcast. It is a unique experience every time to hear different people’s journeys and I really appreciated this one. Thanks

  20. Carrie,

    If you are reading these comments, I would like to tell you that it was a pleasure for me and my wife, to hear your story. Keep up the great work, courage, and positive spirit that you share.

    Your reference to the 13th Article of Faith, and the importance of having a desire to seek after the good in life, and to have wide interests in many things, if followed, will bring more joy to all of us. It seems to me, that so many members of the church go through life with their noses stuck in the guide book, and miss the journey. As Allan Watts, once said, “religion is a finger pointing the way, not a thumb to suck on.”

    You talked about learning to trust yourself and one’s own critical thinking, rather than to always be looking for a leader to direct us.
    “The Power is in us when we are agents unto ourselves”, and yet so many of us just want to wait for marching orders and have someone else do our thinking for us.

    My wife really appreciated the examples of dealing with challenges…the “bad hair day” story on the airplane, etc.

    May your life continue to keep getting better, along with the challenges!

  21. Bravo! I loved both segments of these episodes! It’s refreshing to hear from an ex-mormon who is mainly conservative! Episode one reminds me of Tolles, A New Earth. Thank you!

  22. For those of us with the most heated comments – Let us please remember that this is what She thinks. I wanted to hear what she thought in an effort to understand. Now that have heard her, I cannot agree with her politics and I feel that many of her opinions are just as myopic as she claims her opposition’s to be – I think there are myopic opinons on both sides. While I cannot subscribe to her point of view – I am glad to hear her side – which makes me more firm in my own beliefs. Thank you, John!

  23. I’ve only listened to the first half but I loved the open, honest dialogue. Thank you Carrie for sharing your journey. I have found great benefit in many of the cognitive behavioral concepts of which you speak but have never looked into stoicism. Thanks for sharing some interesting insights. P.S. I am conservative as well, although I have found that is somewhat frowned upon in the ex-mo community….keep up the great work!!

  24. Great episode John and Carrie, thank you. While I disagree some of Carrie’s positions and with most of her reasoning, I think we need more people like her: people who are willing to publicly put themselves on the line and endure the ridicule and constructive criticism. Plus Carrie’s seems to be motivated by virtuous reasons and not for personal gain. Also I appreciated being exposed to Stoicism.

    I love that John is willing to stir the pot and get people riled up. Religion and politics in the same podcast; mixing those two is daring!

    As George Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” Thanks John and Carrie for making me struggle during this podcast and please continue to publicly do what you both do.

    1. Well, on the other hand, we need more people like YOURSELF who can look past the fog of your own disagreement and genuinely try to see others’ points of views. It is rather refreshing (and not very often) to see this kind of attitude, leading to wisdom and enlightenment sooner than most.

  25. Excellent interview. I like that she defended her positions with her interpretations of the data rather than the normal way people pick political positions by their emotional attachments. I would caution against stereotyping Republicans as war mongers considering the current Democrat president is increasingly restoring the American war in Iraq despite the semantic word games of “combat troops”, “advisors”, and “boots on the ground”.

  26. Does she realize that her Republican party doesn’t believe in net neutrality? She ascribes much of her ideals to the wrong political party.

  27. Oh and her assumptions about pollution and why it’s going down nationally are ridiculous. Internationally of course, it’s going up like a rocket.

  28. I am currently a believing member but working my way through being recently exposed to valid questions about Joseph Smith, the church’s truth claims and history. I am conservative in my political thinking and if I were to leave the church there is no way that would change my political views. I can completely relate to Carrie’s political point of view.

  29. Over the past couple of days I have looked further into Ms. Sheffield’s positions and personal philosophies (Stoicism) via her other published works and have found them to be circumspect, reflective, data-driven, and reasonable. Her style in these pod-casted hours is very unrehearsed and involves a come-what-may attitude, which may stem from her stoic principles. I applaud the controlled and reasonable way in which she encourages others to replace the incomparable Mormon support system with compatible, but more authentic and sustainable, perhaps, personal structure; it is more believable to me now that such a replacement can be done without first imploding (as she said she did in her Washington Post piece) and without such disastrous repercussions (as was my case). An extra injection of hope for my hurting (and routine-substituting) friends and relatives is my primary reason for listening to MormonStories these days, so I am glad this is one that I can forward with confidence. I think it is rare for someone to bounce back from the severe depression she experienced without jettisoning so much more than core religious tenants at the same time. I wonder now whether most of us post-Mormons swing the world-view pendulum too energetically when we disengage. It is difficult to be disciplined in analyzing properly each closure-seeking activity we undertake when jarred. Her stoic principles and conservatism go hand in hand. She is cautious and slow when extricating the unbecoming features of her prior religious and current political parties–but she is doing it with transparency and intrepid honesty. That puts her in an uncomfortable middle, where more of us should probably spend some time with thinking-hats on before making judgments and pulling out bullhorns. I love the ever-expanding library of MormonStories. Alas, this one would have changed a lot of my life’s course if I had heard it three years ago.

  30. After listening to both podcasts, there were two important things that i thought were demonstrated. I recently read Thomas Moore’s Dark Nights of the Soul, and it discusses how those dark nights help us to question our beliefs and build our own personal philosophy. I think that the first podcast shows that Carrie has been doing this through her exploration of various philosophies and religions, and has been building her own more thoughtful approach to life. This resonated with me.
    The second podcast was enjoyable because they discussed political issues without attacking each other personally and had a good respectful conversation that is lacking in the mass media where people are divided into two sides with little information being exchanged and mostly just mis-characterizations of their political opponents.

  31. Who is John Galt, who is Jane Galt, and who is Carrie Sheffield? Ayn Rand lives on through Ex-Mormon Stoicism? The Mormon Theory of mind does not disappear easily when embracing other notions of reality. I can’t believe a person wearing “red” is a stoic unless the vagaries of life bestow privilege to those who obsessively wear red dresses.
    Carrie believes the banquet will never end until is does.
    I get it, the still quiet voice is not still or quiet. It seems Carrie believes our planet is like an unending carpet that rolls out before us to despoil as we please; Mormon say, “The earth is like a rubber ball and will bounce back.” Our World Resources are consumed to convert to wealth (money), the externality is not redeemed by wealth of the privileged –– The Ownership Society will not redeem the damage done for profit –– the opportunity cost is incalculable.
    http://www.scari.org/trickle-down.html
    That is not stoicism but Atlas Shruggianism in Red –– Stoics embrace knowledge and virtue not platitudes. Privilege and Access is not stoic but Opportunism and Duplicity –– Machiavellian.

    PS, I’m glad Glenn Beck made a passing entry into her Stoic Story.

    1. John and James, I’m impressed with your search –– The Persistence of Doubt is not going away.
      Thank you for posting my comment; So many Swamis so little time.
      ephima

      Mormons say, “The earth is like a rubber ball and will bounce back.” Our World Resources are consumed to convert to wealth (money), the externality is not redeemed by wealth of the privileged –– The Ownership Society will not redeem the damage done for profit –– the opportunity cost is incalculable.
      http://www.scari.org/trickle-down.html
      That is not stoicism but Atlas Shruggianism in Red –– Stoics embrace knowledge and virtue not platitudes. Privilege and Access is not stoic but Opportunism and Duplicity –– Machiavellian.

      PS, I’m glad Glenn Beck made a passing entry into her Stoic Story.

  32. The comments that I found the most odd and off base is when she stated that Mormons/Christians believe that God murdered his son to satisfy justice. That is definitely not how I view the atonement.

  33. John and Carrie – Thanks so much for this podcast. Having been in my faith transition for almost 2 years, I felt often like I didn’t fully fit it with TBM’s, but when I would come to the blogernacle I also felt a bit out of place. I didn’t feel like I could say “even though I have some big issues with conservatism, but I believe deeply that some principles like capitalism are THE way to go.” I know that the right has some serious issues (mostly of their own making). It is good to feel I am not the only oddball among oddballs.

  34. So I finally got around to listening to these, and it seems to me like Carrie has a completely different idea of what conservatism is and should be than the Republican party as it actually exists today does. As an example, she brought up Nixon and Reagan as helping to expand the social safety net, and used that to bolster her point that you can be conservative and still care about the poor. The only problem is that those specific policies wouldn’t have a chance in hell of being adopted by the Republican party of today. The Tea Partiers would slap the socialist label on that stuff in a New York minute and kill it. She doesn’t seem to recognize the rightward shift in both parties that has happened since those guys were in office. She adds quite a bit of nuance to her positions, and I appreciate that, but I don’t think that nuance is at all reflected in the political actions of Republicans in office. Their analysis seems to be limited to “Does Obama support it? Then I oppose it!”

    Likewise, she keeps bringing up capitalism as a reason why she’s Republican, as if she thinks Democrats aren’t capitalists. The truth is there are no non-capitalist political parties in the U.S. Having a single-payer healthcare system doesn’t make an economy socialistic any more than having public water utilities does. As an aside, she never did directly answer John’s question about what would be so bad about having single-payer healthcare, although that may just be because John tends to throw out a bunch of questions all at once.

  35. Deut 15: There shall be no poor among you. Care for the poor, widows & orphans, the sick and those in prison. When I was hungry you gave me nothing to eat. God is Love. Jesus reads as a liberal to me. He probably had long hair, wore sandals, and criticized materialism. He also criticized establishment Religion. Definitely a lib and Jewish. There you have it. What more? There, too much materialism, too much war mongering, too much pandering to the low-cost issues of the Christian Right. The older I become, the more suffering I see, the more I read about the Biblical Jesus, the more I cannot understand how a grace-filled, neighboring loving, devoted to the poor and the sick Christian can be enamored with the GOP. The Dems are not perfect, but the may have enough humility that they might ask Jesus to have mercy, rather presume they are good enough to be heaven-bound believing God grades on a curve and convinced their are better than 2 STD from the mean of humanity. Perhaps the Christian’s core conflicts the least at the core with the heart-beat of the blue-collar Democrat as a sensible compromise if you have to vote.

  36. One of the best podcasts to date – love the good information here and all the references to great reading material and resources. Thank you both!

  37. Wonderful interview, thanks John and Carrie. I loved hearing from a fellow conservative in the post orthodox believer world. I am a strong capitalist and free market proponent, but also much more moderate on social issues. Too many people don’t think about the issues individually and are committed to party. We need people committed to principles and critical thinking about issues, not loyalty to institutions or organizations.

  38. Have not listened to the second part yet, but in this first part, it really sounds like the guest is a either a Christian Scientist, Von Mises Social Darwinist or some combination of both. She is sadly mistaken about poverty being at an all time low. In fact nearly half the world’s wealth is owned currently by 1% of the population. This is worse than at any point in history. The only way poverty will go down because of capitalism is when all the poor people die of hunger. Very Disappointing, Pollyannish Sentiments.

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