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  1. John, Emily and Kyle,
    About all I can say is thank you! Your stories, quotes, and healthy and unhealthy experiences were all so very healing. This podcast goes on my list of favorites. Thank you all again!

  2. Thank you John Emily for another brilliant interview, for the sincerity honesty genuine kindness, warm hearted love from both of you, it has been lovely to listen, l hope there will be more stories to come.

  3. I’m only about half way through but so far could easily substitute my name for yours! And I just have to add that the thunder in the background lends a great “ominous” feeling to your story….like Kyle stopped wearing his garments, *rumble, rumble, rumble – hahaha!!! Nice touch. 😉

  4. So excited to listen. Emily’s mom married my dad about 15 years ago…or something like that. Growing up, her family attended Ferndale 2nd ward (WA) and my family attended Ferndale 1st ward. Kids in both families knew each other well through church activities and one of her brothers was VERY close to our family. I don’t know Emily that well, but was excited seeing she and Kyle did this podcast.
    Interestingly, my dad is in a polygamous eternal marriage with our mothers. My mom passed away the year my dad married Emily’s mom. I have always been uncomfortable with polygamy and did not realize it was still being practiced until my dad’s second marriage.

    1. Hey there Jennifer! Fascinating comment. For obvious reasons I imagine that your feelings about our parents in a polygamous marriage are stronger than my feelings about our parents in a polygamous marriage. That said, I am sure grateful that our parents have each other as companions here currently. I don’t envision any afterlife that would require our moms to share your dad. Just writing that out makes me uncomfortable. One shelf (0f many) that broke for me was during California’s Prop 8 campaign. The church and so many of its members (and their money) campaigned for traditional marriage by citing the Proclamation to the Family: marriage between one man and one woman to be ordained of God. I found that super ironic because not so long ago mormons practiced and pushed for traditional marriage to be between one man and one woman + one woman + one woman + one woman + one woman . . . And although the church and its members no longer publicly campaign for polygamy, they certainly practice it. Enter our parents. Enter current apostles practicing it. And, of course, it is still current scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants. We sure come from fascinating families and a fascinating religious background. Nice to hear from you. : )

      1. Hi, Emily!

        Such a pleasure to write my thoughts to you after staying up most of the night last night drinking in yours and Kyle’s story.

        I could write you a book, but instead, I will condense it down to the Readers Digest version.

        In no particular order:

        God save the Church from the side-effects of whip-smart, highly intelligent, critically thinking, heart-centered Mormon women!
        Your adventure of discovering your true, authentic nature was poetry in motion, Emily. Stunningly beautiful to witness as you unfolded yours and Kyle’s amazing story. It was a page-turner to watch you unpeeling the layers of Restored Gospel covering the true self that The Brethren eventually failed to keep under wraps with their Plan of Eternal Stagnation.

        I wanna particularly acknowledge your pivotal insight as you left your Bishop’s office after flunking his TR interview test. You said something to the effect (my words) that YOU were excommunicating the Church for the crime of promulgating core values in serious misalignment with YOUR own true and authentic core values, Emily.

        I am an engineer whose career success depended upon successfully practicing ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS. You can’t truly fix something that’s broken unless and until you identify the core cause of the dysfunction … otherwise, you are just band-aiding, not healing.


        You nailed the root cause of why so many kind-hearted, decent, salt-of-the-earth human beings are leaving Mormonism in their rear-view mirrors. The root cause is irreconcilable differences between fundamental, core values of the MEMBER vis-a-vis the core values of The Brethren … as evidenced not only by their words, but especially by their public behaviors and how they treat MEMBERS.

        I assert the following to be a statement of fact:

        Virtually ALL of the kindness, goodness, lovingness, generosity, selflessness and authentic expression of the core teachings of Jesus Christ that exist within the Mormon Church … are alive and well … where? Where are these good and decent thoughts, feelings and behaviors found within Mormonism?

        You discovered the answer, Emily.

        The teachings and core values of Jesus are alive and well within the hearts and souls of THE MEMBERS … and most unfortunately, too few and too far between amongst the personal core values of The Brethren who not only own and control the Mormon Church, but who also are showing NO INTEREST in allowing themselves to be influenced by the heartfelt expressions of core values more and more courageous members are wearing on their sleeves for all to see.

        Well done, Emily and Kyle!

        What follows now will perhaps seem inappropriate for this blog, but I will say it anyway … in the spirit of authenticity (may the consequence follow) …

        In my experience, there is NOTHING SEXIER than to behold a female of my species who has MADE CONTACT with her true self and core essence and innate female energy, and who has self-determined that she no longer answers to any OUTSIDE AUTHORITY to make her own choices and run her own life as she sees fit! When that happens, she cannot help but BLESS EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING SHE TOUCHES.

        To summarize that Emily comes across as “powerfully attractive” is a gross understatement … and intended as a high compliment and affirmation. Compared with cartoon, make-believe Priesthood “authority,” there’s no contest when it comes to the Power of a Self-Actualized exMormon Woman. (Same applies to men, of course, but the transformation through Emily’s trajectory from “helpmeet” to Woman of Power is higher contrast and more dramatic … not to mention entertaining as well. You just plain ROCK, Emily!)

        I will just say that Kyle clearly has impeccable taste in opposite-gender companionship. Well done, Kyle! Your part in this drama was beautiful to witness as well!

        Message to everyone: One of the most beautiful and sacred things to behold in all of the Universe is … a mere mortal, human being on Planet Earth who has somewhere, somehow figured their way out from under the suffocating layers of culture-taught limitations, brainwash, mind-numbing programming, engineered disempowerment and spiritual-growth-stunting messaging … fully intended to keep us dumbed-down in service of someone else’s agenda. Prevented from discovering our own awesomeness and the truly unlimited potential that’s lying latent in our very DNA … and within our immortal soul-essence that enlivens this “meat suit” vehicle we’ve temporarily boarded for our Wild Ride on Rollercoaster Planet Earth.

        YEE HAH !!!

        The Highest and Best and Most Sacred contribution any of us can make to the Planet and to our fellow human beings is to somehow escape from entrapment inside ALL of those limiting layers of confining boxes to discover … to discover what? That singularly rare and unique gift we each brought with us … and then to BRING IT! Make it manifest! Do it! Give it! … whatever that gift may be.

        Leave that suffocating CCC (Cookie Cutter Culture) behind and BLESS THE PLANET with who you are and what you brought with you.

        Thank you, Emily and Kyle, for demonstrating how to do just that!

        Time to wind it down here …


        Note for John: I will meet you in person for the first time next weekend in Portland. I’m looking forward to the encounter. (Hopefully, neither of us will ever be the same again.)

        Miraculously enough, I became sudden close friends with Sam Young, of all people, after e-meeting him on his blog, and then facetime in Houston two times last spring 2017. Such a high honor to be his friend and to witness Sam the LionHeart in action. (Talk about discovering your unique gift … and then BRINGING IT big time! Sam’s the Man!)

  5. After listening to this podcast, I went and read chapter 22, pages 395-411, of “The Articles of Faith” by James E. Talmage. (On the title page it reads: by James E. Talmage, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church.) Chapter 22 covers the 11th Article of Faith under the title, “Religious Liberty and Toleration.” It was a very interesting read and would probably be a “radical” talk to share from the pulpit. I believe it should be a talk that is not only delivered from the pulpit in chapels but from the pulpit in the Conference Center as well. Thank you again for this very important Mormon Story.

  6. Thank you John Emily and kyle, your story is so beautifully, warmheartedly and sincerely with love put together, l hope for more stories like these, you touch the hearts of so many of us struggling and doubting and unsure as to where to go next.

  7. Emily and Kyle, I loved this interview!! Thanks so much for your willingness to share. I have been on a long journey (similar to Kyle) where I had to keep a double life for many years in order to keep my sanity. However, my non-beliefs about the church are now out in the open, and I attend Sacrament Meetings as a non-believer, with my TBM wife. It helps to keep us in a more respectful place and is helping our marriage, which has been rocked by my journey.

    I am very grateful for the podcast community and spend many hours each week listening (and re-listening) to podcasts. Thanks John for all you do providing these very important resources to learn about the church and the journeys of others to help keep marriages in place. It is very liberating when believing and non-believing spouses can allow and celebrate independent thought instead of living under the “thoughts” the church requires its membership to adhere to.

  8. Thank you Emily and Kyle. I previously thought that this was uncommon.
    After living this for almost 25 years, I finally might be starting to reach where you two are. It is still very hard. I have not lost hope.

    At the very least, according to true believers, my wife can find her eternal companion in the spirit world. So she has something to look forward to.

  9. Thank you for this hopeful and heartwarming story. There are so many ears that need to hear this, so many lives that need healing outcomes.

  10. John Dehlin,

    When you coach why are you not using Mormon scripture to drive your points home about mix faith marriages be blessed by God & Approval is given to STAY MARRIED . The unbelieving spouse is saved period! Why John? Are you encouraging the big D? Or rather are you allowing it to occur because you don’t arm the non beleiving spouse with a scripture they can use to save their marriage? I hope that’s not your goal I hope your sincere & if you are you will read this scripture during your coaching sessions on Mormon Stories Pod cast!
    Why not shut up all the LDS Leaders who are Recommending DIVORCE to the beleiving spouse & expose them as the ‘cause of a marriage failing. The Lord has harsh words for those who put asunder those God has brought together in the holy marriage. Why not demand Mormon Leaders follow the Lords counsel found in Mormon Scripture over the unwisdom of men.

  11. I haven’t heard the podcast yet but I’m sure it’s good. One thing that is very important: “never let a problem to be solved ….” favorite quote was originated by author Barbara Johnson, not Tom Monson. Tommy was real good at quoting others without giving credit. He even plagerized the Cheshire Cat. This is an important point given the propensity and proclivity of Mormon leaders to plagerize other peoples work .. can you say Adam Clark??

  12. I love this. My wife and I are somewhere in this exact same journey. It is so nice to know we’re not the only ones who struggle with these issues. Also, I love thunderstorms, and the whole thing is just enhanced by the occasional thunder in the background. Listening to this just fulfilled me on so many levels. Thank you!

  13. Emily and Kyle Harris, I am thinking of moving down there for work. Is there a way I can get in touch with Kyle to visit about the area.

  14. When I was younger, we had a wonderful bishop in almost every way. For example, he would open the doors to his home for those in need. We once had a high councilman from the stake give a talk and he mentioned that this bishop gave a higher percentage of his income to tithing than anyone else in the stake………………then glared at the rest of us. I could give countless other examples but here’s the thing; he believed that non-temple marriages were basically a wasted opportunity. This podcast may as well be considered a non-temple marriage. My sister was married to a non-member and he offered to let her and her kids move in with him until such time she could get a divorce and find a worthy priesthood holder to be sealed to. I have another sister and some members were trying to fix her up with this guy in the church whose wife was a non-member and wouldn’t come to church with him. Are these things terrible? To me they are but I think that type of reasoning is still common within the church.

  15. Hi Kyle and Emily! I live in The Woodlands and would love to meet you. I am almost through my own faith crisis and my husband is TBM but we are finally at the point we do not argue about personal beliefs. I’d love to discuss with Emily where my husband is on his journey. Loved the podcast and I bet we are neighbors. Robin

  16. I just finished listening to the full interview. I was close friends with Kyle’s parents, older brother and sister growing up.
    I appreciated the interview, and found the story of Kyle and Emily very interesting. I appreciate how candid they were.
    I wish we were neighbors, and could discuss more.
    But here is what I would talk about with them if I had a chance.
    1. Consider reading or listening to “Rough Stone Rolling” – I think all sides agree this is the most comprehensive and thorough biography of Joseph Smith, placed in the context of his life and times. I would be interested in Kyle’s thoughts after reading it.
    2. Kyle is very smart. He can pretend to be a dumb jock, but he’s not. He’s very smart, and a jock.
    3. Emily is very thoughtful. And deep. Had she had a different orientation growing up, I’m sure she could have gone to law school and done very well.
    4. I agree with nearly everything both Kyle and Emily said, but I still believe, and even find joy in the Church of Jesus Christ. I understand and appreciate how the same facts and experiences can lead others down different paths.
    5. But I have three criticisms. First, I think it is leader abuse to expect anyone, from the prophet to your spouse to your kids, to be perfect. They all need the Atonement, and so do you. I completely agree that Joseph Smith wasn’t perfect. Joseph Smith would strongly agree that he wasn’t perfect. And, I would even go so far as to point out that Joseph Smith was the only prophet in the latter-days to be called home from a premature death. Why? God had preserved Joseph’s life many times through a series of miracles. But he didn’t that last time. I’m confident that Joseph had completed his mission. Have some compassion, and also understand that everyone needs checks and balances, or you can become a god unto yourself. Attorneys especially understand and appreciate this. I think it is just sort of mean to expect Joseph Smith, or your bishop, or even the current prophet, to be perfect. So, if God blesses you with the light and knowledge to see people going off course you have two choices: One, criticize them, or two, help them. In my experience, once I pitch in and help for a while, folks are much more likely to seriously consider my gentle suggestions on how we could do better, typically given in private.
    6. Second, I’m not sure that Kyle and Emily’s story proves that mixed faith marriages work. I think Kyle and Emily really like each other, and their kids, and their marriage. And I think even their “bad” marriage was still better than the average marriage that many people are enduring. They no longer have a mixed faith marriage. They are of the same faith now (non-believer). And they seemed to indicate they are the happiest that way. So, I think their story really stands for the fact that your marriage will be really hard, and likely unhappy, until you both believe the same. On that point, I completely agree.
    7. Third, they seemed to indicate their faith journeys are both over now. I think they’re likely wrong. For example, what if Kyle read “Rough Stone Rolling” and told Emily that maybe he’d been too hard on Joseph Smith, and maybe going back to Church for the sake of the kids for a year could be fun. How would Emily respond? What if the Church gave our LGBT friends full fellowship? And women? What if their kids wanted to go back now, or when they are adults?
    8. I got a chance to go to BYU as an undergrad, and learned from many thoughtful individuals who had been reading Sunstone and Dialogue for years. I also listed to John Dehlin’s podcasts, nearly every one, from about 2009 to 2015. In other words, I think I understand all the hard issues. Ironically, I agree with nearly all the critics on nearly every point, but I guess I’m more patient, or feel at peace when I pray that this is God’s place for me. I feel a lot like Eugene England does in his classic essay “Why the Church is as true as the Gospel” – because I think the Church is God’s pathway to becoming complete and whole. While my brain prefers members of the Church who are fully aware of our history, and have a strong education and worldly awareness, I don’t think such members help me become like Christ nearly as much as the sunbeams I work with every Sunday. Consider reading this essay here:

    That’s all for now. I hope this criticism isn’t offensive, it isn’t meant to be. But I don’t think anyone’s journey is improved in an echo chamber, and I am hoping/praying that Kyle and Emily find the thoughts above interesting and helpful on their journey. I’d welcome a chance to talk to either of them off line in greater depth.

  17. Kyle – I think you would especially find these comments from Richard Bushman interesting. Bushman attended Harvard as an undergraduate, and left on a mission without a real testimony.

    “[Bushman’s] college years were filled with questions rooted in a belief there was not enough evidence to truly believe in God.

    And yet notwithstanding his doubts, Bushman lived the life one might expect of a believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    “Later in life, after telling this story innumerable times, I confronted the fact that despite my supposed doubts, I went on a mission,” Bushman said in a recent interview. “More, I went without anguish. There was no internal debate, no thrashing about. I told my mission president I did not have a testimony, but still took the train to Nova Scotia to teach the gospel.”

    As the years went on, Bushman began to realize he was wrong to think there was a time he did not believe.

    “I have now concluded, though it is at best a surmise, that I said I did not believe because I could not explain to people like my Harvard classmates or my sophomore tutor, I.B. Cohen, why I believed,” said Bushman. “I had no words to sustain myself in educated company — which I experienced as disbelief.

    “After I learned to speak more intelligibly about my belief, my faith returned,” said Bushman. “Ever since, I have felt compelled to find words to say when an objection is raised. But underneath it all, I am a believer and probably always was.”” Source:

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