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  1. I don’t even have to listen to this to know there is a double standard on out of wedlock sexual matters. Section 132 discusses the adultery of men and makes it clear that if he does it once “he shall be forgiven”. It says nothing about women. In my view that doctrine was introduced and canonized as an ex post facto gift to Joseph Smith who was accused of adultery with Fannie Alger by Oliver Cowdery. I will now listen to this interview.

  2. I loved Kelly’s story and could relate to so much of what she experienced. I worked as a Physician Assistant in Provo for several years in Women’s Health. I met so many amazing BYU and UVU students who felt the shame and guilt for their sexuality. My compassion and love for these women, and my frustration with the system has propelled me to pursue formal education in Human Sexuality. I am currently getting my PhD in Sexual education and counseling. I would like to let your listeners. know that I am now coaching individuals and couples on both sides of Mormonism in hopes of helping people embrace their sexuality and make it a beautiful part of their lives. find me on IG @entwine_coaching.

  3. I really love that Carah has become such an important part of Mormon Stories. She is great in this interview. John, I’m so impressed with your ability to include a woman’s voice. Thank you!
    Kelly you are wise and strong and I’m proud of you. Your story is beautiful.

  4. Kelly, thank you for being open. I am sure it wasn’t an easy story to share. And believe it or not, not matter who we are (male, female, what have you) we can all relate to something in your story.

    Carah, well done! Honestly I agree that topics like this are best handled by a female voice. Carah gets better and better at this. My only piece of advice is to be MORE Carah, not less. Your voice has a lot to offer. It made Kelly’s story more relatable.

  5. As a boy growing up in the church I was never taught that it was a woman’s responsibility to keep me from thinking “bad thoughts” I was always taught that boys are more sexual and more evil in that regard naturally, so if a girl fell and sinned with a boy it was the boys fault for corrupting her. It is interesting to hear the girls got a different message.

  6. This was such a hard episode to listen to. I want to go back in time and protect little Kelly. I’m so so sorry for her experience, and I also find her to be amazing in her healing journey. Down with purity culture and sexual shame!!!

    Also, Cara- great job! Love you on TikTok and so happy you’re on MS now!

  7. Something Kelly mentioned that just dawned on me was that her parents continued to send her to her bishop when she was reaching out for help. Its sad that the church organization takes everything from its members; our time, our loyalty, our backs (service), our opinions, our money, and even take from us our relationships. The church and the “father of the ward” takes the place of the parent. We are groomed to belong to the church and to believe that without it we won’t make it.

  8. This is not a bombshell interview. I feel for Kelly for struggling and for the unfair “consequences” she experienced. The fact of the matter is, the lds church is a church’. It follows and teaches the commandments and obedience to gospel standards. This will never change. The fact that Kelly experienced all of this is proof of the importance of protecting the sanctity of sex. Kelly wasn’t mature enough to be experiencing with her body then which helped shape what Kelly went through. When you sin you don’t get to choose the consequence for you or the people you choose to sin with. You also feel bad when you sin because that’s what you should feel. It’s not because the Church “grooms” you to feel this way. It’s because this is the way it feels when you experiencing things that you aren’t supposed to. The Church is a church that teaches sexual purity. That’s it. Kelly seems to not like the gospel principles that are from God. This is not connected to the Church. Advice. You want sexual freedom, have sexual freedom. Don’t expect to be supported in this as with any sin. I feel bad for Kelly because she needs continued help. This podcast had the opposite effect for my family. I immediately grabbed my children’ and reaffirmed to them that gospel principles are from God. We don’t get to say those gospel principles shouldn’t be, simply because we don’t want to follow them. They are there to protect us from the themes of this podcast. Sad all the way around and she is continuing to experience hardship because she’s not accepting or honing this. Much love and a plea for you all to get her help

      1. …Would cower in disgust at how this women was treated and the fact it was done using a system that abuses and uses his name to justify their abominations. Very few men love their wives and treat them as precious equals as much as Joseph did with Emma. One day the truth about Joseph will be made known and those who spoke evil of his name will have a bad time.

    1. Ok so I’ve been an extremely active member my whole life and never had sex until after my temple marriage and to this day have only ever been with one women-all in the name of believing in the LDS and it’s teachings 100% then one day it occurred to me that there is 8 billion people in this world and of all my non LDS friends (I’ve met many wonderful people traveling to 50 plus countries for my business) that non of them have felt bad for their decisions to have sex, in fact they seem to celebrate it and have joy in it, be it premarital, gay, you name it-in fact most of these wonderful people seem to have much healthy/stronger deeper relationships with their partners than I’ve ever had in 20 plus years of marriage-my two cents is you only know what the church has told you.

      1. So everyone else follows the Brigham young pattern and just sleeps with whoever they want freely and SEEM happy to you. You ironically are one of the few who actually follows the Joseph Smith pattern of being with one women…but he didn’t regret only being with Emma I promise you that. Do you think you should regret your course of action? The lds church still practices polygamy in their temples. They do not advocate being with only one women and a very high percentage of their clergy are not faithful in their marriages. You’d be shocked. Do you think your wife would be hurt to know you seem to regret that you’ve only been with her? Jesus Christ says in the Bible the goal is to become “one flesh” with your (singular) spouse. Perfectly equal and unified. Do you think everyone else is closer to that goal than you? I’m not sure you should be ashamed and sad for your choices like it seems (I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your regret) Forgot the lds church and focus on the gospel (of which probably 0% is found in lds church at this point). Jesus Christ is real and following His example and teachings will result in happiness and true freedom. It just so happens that He also has A (singular) spouse, exactly like His Father. Following the lds church can’t possibly bring happiness or freedom because they reject Christ and His teachings and do nothing but place guilt and shame and control on everyone. Surely no one should place guilt and shame on you for being faithful and monogamous right? The key word is those people who sound like they just prefer open relationship after open relationship SEEM to have deeper relationships. It’s a mirage, I promise. I’d recommend not focusing on outward appearances of other relationships and focus all attention on fostering a 100% honest, equal, faithful, and loving relationship with your wife. Not lds Brigham style with the man ruling over his subservient wife with all his “authority”, which is disgusting and could never produce a marriage worth preserving. I don’t use “right” and “wrong” much because of lds distortion, but if anything is “right”, it’s fostering a marriage relationship with the things I listed. Talk to your dear wife about these feelings you’ve shared. When I said 100% honest in marriage, I meant it.

    2. Wow, in your overwhelming arrogance you made this into something it never was.

      She never said or suggested she shouldn’t have had to repent or have consequences. She not only had those, but was persecuted by roommates and others for mentioning the name of the athlete who she “sinned” with and who also signed the honor code. And she was asked by the leadership who the guy was in the first place!!! The issue at hand is the difference between how she was treated and how he was treated as a star athlete (who, again, had also had to sign the honor code), NOT that she expected or wanted no consequences.

      Besides, how do you know what is from God? About a billion people believe the Quran is from God. How do you know they’re wrong? Over 99% of the world doesn’t believe in the Book of Mormon. How do you know they’re wrong? There are plenty of people that have had spiritual confirmations that the Quran is the word of God. How do you know their spiritual experiences are invalid or somehow mistaken while yours are not? And what about all the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Catholics and Pentecostals and Evangelicals that received confirmations that theirs are “God’s principles” and their churches are His true religion?

      Get off your high horse and stop judging long enough to actually understand. And if you have enough personal integrity, read the essays (lds.org or wherever the church has them now or just go to mormonessays.com) and follow the essay footnotes. You may just learn you were never as right as you thought you were.

    3. I agree with you, LDS girl, that there was a disconnect in this story about Kelly wanting to be “good”, but not really wanting to be “good” AND I wonder if that disconnect had more to do with Kelly having been educated that being “good” was an expected female trait. My experience growing up in the church was that a wild boy was more socially acceptable than a wild girl. I wonder if this story would have landed differently if Kelly was a boy.

      I also wonder if the behavior you see as emotionally troubling is nothing more than your garden variety “testing the limits” behavior. Some people are just wired to want to test the limits of authority. Kelly strikes me as that kind of person, and there are many of us mothers out there who have had a “Kelly.” I don’t think it is grounds for concluding that such a person is mentally/emotionally unstable, though.

      My real wish for Kelly is that she will move away from the victim narrative and just embrace the fact that she likes to break the rules.

      1. But she WAS a victim, and this podcast is enlightening and healing for me, even though i’m a guy, there were many similarities in my upbringing in the church.

        “She likes to break the rules” ? What rules? who’s rules? You say, the law of chastity, which is from god. I would like to challenge that. Who says they are from God? Oh the leaders who speak for god do. Well who gives them authority to speak for god? Well the men who speak for god say they have the authority to speak for god. Do you see the problem in that logic? These rules were established by a bunch of men, passed down for years from teaching from religious groups focused on purity. Some rules just make sense from a societal stand point, for example, age of consent laws. Other “rules” have been added to and made up over time by religious leaders as forms of control. But who has authority to say that sex outside of marriage is breaking a rule? Only you have authority to apply those rules to yourself. But you are raised to think that you don’t have that power over yourself, you are conditioned to feel guilt or shame for breaking these made up rules, and feel good if you don’t break them. It’s a learned trait.

        What gives these men authority over anyone? Only you can give them that power and authority over yourself, and as soon as you realize they have no power over you, those rules no longer have power over you. Just because you’re plugged into a religious system that you think is the only one true way, does not mean that system applies to everyone.

        You may go on to say, “you will get your just rewards in the next life” and then go on to feel justified in your belief system. Well then i guess we will see in the next life.
        -J

    4. Lds girl,

      There are no “gospel principles” found in the lds church. The “principles” you are referring to are principles from the Lord’s chief adversary. Guilt, shame, trusting in the arm of flesh (general authorities), dishonesty, seeking deep to hide their works, priestcraft (setting oneself up as a light to preach for material gain) etc. The actual practiced “principles” found in lds church are literally anti Christ. If you want a better description than this, just read 1 and 2 Nephi when Nephi is describing the church of the devil. Kelly demonstrated this fact with the way she was treated from such a young delicate age in the lds church. Kelly is one of the most sincere, forgiving, kind, and warm people I’ve ever seen. I can feel it. It is palpable. I was in tears of gratitude when she mentioned the sex therapist that told her she was a good person. I was so happy to hear someone finally recognized a soul who has gone through more than I can imagine and somehow come out of it with so much light, forgiveness, humility, and wisdom I can hardly believe it. Kelly is remarkable. I think we could learn a lot from her example if we just simply try to see what happened to her from her perspective. She was abused by “authority” her entire life and made to feel like trash when in reality her intentions and feelings actually are a pretty good example of the ideals found in the sermon on the mount. She is so quick to forgive and the way she describes so many of the events that happened to her, it’s clear she is an extremely meek soul. Those who abused her likely didn’t even bat an eye. They feel justified and without remorse. It’s sick. The way Kelly was treated by nearly every single authority figure in the lds church was NOT of God.

  9. Listening to this episode made me realize why joining the church at the age of 15 was a natural progression to another environment where what I wanted had no importance and I never felt adequate. That was my childhood experience and it was so easy to accept what I had always felt. Much later I learned to question the experience I had of myself. I am now free of feeling unimportant and inadequate. Thank you for helping me out a few pieces in place in my puzzle.

  10. Kelly shared a lot of hard experiences in this interview in a very forthright way, which clearly was not easy. But I think it is totally worth it, because these are the kind of struggles everyone in Mormonism has–in their own way. My experiences & approaches to cope within the worthiness system were different, but I understand where the pain and regret over lost opportunities comes from. I left the church at about the same age as Kelly and I’ve come to accept in the 15 years since then that my experiences in Mormonism are an integrated part of my life that helped create the person I am. Kelly seems to be figuring this out at an early stage in her post-Mormon journey. Even though I’ve been out of Mormonism for quite some time, I like to listen to the stories of people who started their life in a similar situation and grew beyond it.

    I also thought the insight on the BYU athletics world was interesting. From my limited experience with members of the football team during my stint at BYU in the early 2000’s, they certainly lived in a different “daily universe” from the rest of the BYU students. I conducted a baptismal service for one of the players, who joined the church, and what a deal–huge attendance, including a member of the Presiding Bishopric. Yeah, they were on a pedestal, but I also knew from the bikini clad women in the posters on our neighbors’ (football team members) wall they were not your typical BYU students. Even so, the widespread and intense nature of the party scene among the athletes Kelly described was still a little shocking to me. I’m not surprised a star football player was given some preferential treatment in this situation, but is sure doesn’t make what happened right! Those types of things bugged me–even when I was a believing Mormon.

    And congrats to Carah for her debut performance as the lead interviewer.

  11. As a mother of adult children I am now working to build trust between us. I have offered some apologies. I am especially sorry for the lack of authenticity in our home when they were children. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better listener and ally. As a young parent I allowed the LDS church to direct my parenting. Looking back I see the LDS church was the 3rd parent and the 3rd marriage partner in my home. I fought my own instincts because I believed the church leaders and the lessons I heard in church told me the happiest, safest, surest way to live. Disagreeing was never an option. I trusted the church leaders over myself. I valued church teachings over my childrens’ emotional well being. Now I am backtracking, working to teach them concepts like boundaries, self awareness, how to work through feelings. I forgive myself for not knowing better and for making my children feel less important than “keeping the commandments”.

  12. Sarah did a wonderful job and John was great in a supporting role… Keep up the good work. This podcast was excellent … I admire Kelly for being so open and real in describing her experiences. The pain is so evident!! The double standards are shocking and the burden on women unacceptable. The LDS church needs massive change to avoid the consequences of shame and emotional manipulation. The idea of a forever family is more negative than positive and it tears families apart more than it brings them together. My wish for this young women is that she finds peace as she continues on her challenging journey.

  13. It is puzzling how the Church emphasizes the concept of an infinite atonement, but then in practice, sees it as extremely restricted and limited in its power. You’ve sinned too much to go on a mission. You’re actions are breaking up the eternal family we have worked so hard to achieve. It sounds like these church leaders and her parents do NOT have faith in an infinite atonement. Their understanding of the gospel reflects a god who is weak and limited in power. 1 person in the family decides they have a different belief and the eternal family is foiled?!? Some sexual encounters and now an individual with the desire to spread the gospel no longer is sanctioned to be an instrument in forwarding the “work of God”?!? And this church is supposed to bring eternal joy, yet as a faithful parent you have to WORRY your entire life that your children and grandchildren will stay on the straight and narrow, and if 1 of your children, grandchildren, etc stray, now you are going to be full of sadness and grief not only in this life, knowing your family won’t be eternal, but also in the eternities to come because your family will not be complete. The Church says that God is all powerful, yet its actions reflect a God who can’t do much and an atonement that really can’t get the job done of cleansing sin.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story! I too started touching myself at a very young age. I don’t even recall anything that triggered it other than natural nightly sleeping with myself. I don’t think ever told anyone to this day. I can’t even type the word masturb…. I recall a time my mom found my dolls baby bottle between my legs I was using… as it resembled a penis… oh that was shameful moment and being told something about HF and my body and that he wouldn’t like that…. I was probably 6! I’ve lived a lifetime not maintaining boundaries with my body as I felt it was my job to please others and stroke egos!! Finally at almost 50, I’m reclaiming it!!

  15. Finally just finished listening to it all.

    Carah, you did wonderfully as host. You are awesome and as genuine as they come. You can feel how much you actually cared about this women you were interviewing. I can’t think of a single thing you could have done better.

    John, great job co hosting. You really stepped aside for Carah but had the right amount of meaningful comments and interjections. It was the right move to have Carah do this one.

  16. I am astonished at the depth of effort and kindness shown by Kelly. I would want to tell the world who the football player was. Sorry, but there is a rebel here. As a mental Health Professional my heart breaks to hear of the use of terms like sex addict. This is not even a diagnosis in the DSM-5, and to imagine the horror a young woman would experience to have someone label them as such is unbelievable. I want to support women who have been harmed in these ways by first encouraging them never to look back at the child they were and evaluate her value based on what you know as an adult. There are so many layers of complexity in this story. As a seventh grader I was taken into the hallway on my birthday and kissed by a teacher. It was a full on mouth kiss and I was so disgusted and ashamed, and yet the little girl in me was also happy to be chosen as special by this teacher. For years I wondered how could I have been so dumb to allow this type of treatment. I know now that the little girl could not have known what to do. She was a child. Kelly was a child. She was shamed by her family, her bishops and the school. She continued to struggle and for that I find her more remarkable than most. I thought as I listened of the term long-suffering. She kept trying to be good when it was the church and her parents who were missing the boat. I am, as a mom, so incredibly offended that any daughter would be put through what she went through over and over again. She was not broken, the system that is the lds church is broken. I long for a time when responsibility could be taken by the teacher who harmed me, and by the church who harmed this lovely human being.

  17. Kelly, please continue to bring to light the abuse by these “authorities” to the extent you wish to do so… it is empowering to people like me who’ve suffered similar interrogations and appalling treatment by those in charge even though it was within another church for me.

    It is unconscionable what these people, and other victims of the teachings, did to you and I am so glad you have seen the light. Best wishes to you along your journey and in redefining your life.

    And great job to Carah! Your confidence will grow with time and it’s great to see another woman interviewer.

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